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World Cup

Every single African nation represented at the World Cup

02:35 GMT 14/12/2022
Saka Salima Ayew Mbappe
Morocco may be the last team standing in Qatar, but which other African nations have been represented at the World Cup?
  • DF_Boualem Khoukhi


    Les Fennecs were defeated by Cameroon in a stunning World Cup playoff defeat, but they’re still represented in Qatar with two players from the hosts’ squad having been able to represent the North Africans.

    Both France-born Karim Boudiaf and centurion Boualem Khoukhi could have turned out for the 2019 African champions.

    France superstar Kylian Mbappe is also of Algerian origin, via his mother.

  • Eduardo Camavinga France 2022


    Ben Cabango’s Angolan father coached the boy’s youth team during his days growing up in Wales, with the young SwanseaCity man ultimately opting to represent the land of his birth.

    Cabango was unused for Wales during their brief World Cup campaign.

    France wonderkid Edouardo Camavinga was born in Cabinda, and is still standing in the World Cup, while Portugal also had four Angola-origin players in their squad—William Carvalho, Rafael Leao, Nuno Mendes and Joao Mario.

  • Jules Kounde France World Cup 2022


    Jules Kounde was heavily linked with Chelsea during his time at Sevilla, but has ultimately ended up at Barcelona.

    Of Beninese origin, he made his France debut last year, and has featured in four of France’s matches so far this term.

  • Aurelien Tchouameni France Denmark World Cup 2022


    Eliminated following a spirited group-stage campaign, Cameroon are still ‘alive’ in the competition through France centre-back William Saliba, anchor man Aurelien Tchouameni, who opened the scoring in the quarter-final victory over England, and of course, Mbappe.

    Germany also had Cameroon interest in Armel Bella-Kotchap and Youssoufa Moukoko, while Breel Embolo—who scored against the Indomitable Lions for Switzerland at the tournament—was born in Yaounde.

  • Edimilson Fernandes

    Cape Verde

    The West African island nation was represented by Qatar utility man Ro-Ro, who was born in Portugal, and Edimilson Fernandes of Switzerland.

    His cousin, Cabral, opted to represent Cape Verde at senior level.

  • Denis Zakaria Chelsea 2022-23


    Denis Zakaria may be struggling to make an impact at Chelsea, but he’s been a key element of the Swiss national side for the last six years.

    He was born in Switzerland to parents from South Sudan and Congo-Brazzaville.

  • Nathan Ake Gonzalo Plata Netherlands Ecuador 2022 World Cup

    Cote d’Ivoire

    Defeated by Cameroon in African World Cup qualifying, the Ivorians have nonetheless been represented by three players in Qatar.

    Nathan Ake and Serge Gnabry each had their moments with the Netherlands and Germany respectively, while Ismael Kone was arguably underused by Canada.

  • FW_Randal Kolo Muani

    Democratic Republic of Congo

    There was strong Congolese representation in eliminated Belgium, in the form of Youri Tielemans, Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi.

    They still have a trio of Frenchmen still standing, with Steve Mandanda, Axel Disasi and Randal Kolo Muani all eligible to have played for Les Bleus.

  • FW_Garang Kuol


    Egypt were defeated by Senegal in the World Cup playoffs, but they were still represented in Qatar by the hosts’ Ahmed Alaaeldin, who was born in Ismailia.

    Australia’s Garang Kuol was also born in the North African country.

  • Thomas Partey, Ghana


    The Black Stars were one of Africa’s five qualifiers in Qatar, with the national side taking four points from their three group stage games.

    It should have been more, but the West African giants crumbled in their final group game against Uruguay.

  • DF_Alexander Bah

    The Gambia

    Denmark’s speedy full-back Alexander Bah was eligible for The Gambia through his father.

    Gambian referee Bakary Gassama was also among Caf’s refereeing contingent in Qatar.

  • DF_Dayot Upamecano


    What a team Guinea-Bissau could have had, if only they’d been able to convince France’s Dayot Upamecano and Spain duo Alejandro Balde and Ansu Fati to play for them.

    Portugal’s Danilo Pereira was also born in Bissau.

  • DF_Thomas Deng


    Australian duo and dear friends Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil were both born in Kenya to South Sudanese refugee parents.

    Only Mabil saw gametime in Qatar.

  • Timothy Weah USMNT Iran


    Not likely to qualify for the World Cup anytime soon, the tiny West African nation was nonetheless represented well with Alphonso Davies of Canada and USA duo Haji Wright and Timothy Weah.

    Timothy’s father—the great George Weah—was in attendance to watch his son’s matches in Qatar.

  • Lesotho

    The tiny Cosafa nation were represented at the World Cup via official Souru Phatsoane.

  • Ibrahima Konate France header


    Mali are still standing in Qatar with France duo Youssouf Fofana and Ibrahima Konate, both of whom were born to Malian parents.

  • Ousmane Dembele France Denmark World Cup 2022


    Ousmane Dembele could have represented Senegal or Mauritius via his mother, or Mali via his dad.

  • Walid Regragui Morocco flag World Cup


    The last African team still standing at the World Cup—and the first in history to reach the semi-finals—Morocco have the chance to reach an unthinkable final if they defeat France on Wednesday.

    The Atlas Lions will be up against a player who could have represented them, with Matteo Guendouzi instead opting to represent the Bleus.

  • Mozambique

    Mozambique were represented at the World Cup through official Arsenio Marrengula.

  • Bukayo Saka press conference


    Some of the brightest young talents on show in Qatar could have instead represented the Super Eagles.

    Both Bukayo Saka and Jamal Musiala could have been Nigeria greats, while the likes of Karim Adeyemi, Sam Adekugbe, Manuel Akaji, Noah Okafor and Ike Ugbo could have all also turned out for the West African giants.

  • Referee Salima Mukansanga Zimbabwe and Guinea


    Fresh of making history at the Africa Cup of Nations, Salima Mukansanga was given the opportunity to break new ground at the World Cup.

  • Leroy Sane Germany 2022


    Africa’s champions were dumped out in the Last 16, but they still have some representation in Qatar via Ousmane Dembele of France—who could have turned out for the Teranga Lions—or Germany wideman Leroy Sane.

    Belgium and Switzerland midfielders Amadou Onana and Djibril Sow would have also been major assets for the West African heavyweights.

  • Antonio Rudiger Germany 2022

    Sierra Leone

    Two players in Qatar could have featured for Sierra Leone.

    Antonio Rudiger grew up in Berlin to a Sierra Leonean mother, although there was never any doubt that he’d represent Germany.

    The centre-back has invested heavily in the West African country, and used all of his World Cup bonus to fund surgeries for children in Sierra Leone.

    Wales’ Sorba Thomas could have turned out for England, or the Leone Stars—via his father.

  • qatar - Almoez Ali - akram afif - world cup 2022


    Akram Afif’s mother is Yememi while his father is from the Somali-Yemeni Benadiri people.

    Afif senior, who was born in Tanzania, played football in the Somali top flight for eight-time champions Horseed FC.

  • MF_Keanu Baccus

    South Africa

    Providing rare South African representation at the World Cup was Australia’s Keanu Baccus, who was born in Durban but came through the academy at Western Sydney Wanderers.

    He featured in every one of Australia’s games in Qatar.

    South Africa also provided several match officials for the World Cup.

  • Awer Mabil

    South Sudan

    Three Australian players could have turned out for South Sudan.

    As mentioned, Deng and Mabil were born in Kenya to immigrants from the country, while Garang Kuol was born in Egypt after his parents travelled to the North African country from South Sudan.

    Switzerland midfielder Zakaria’s parents were from South Sudan and Congo-Brazzaville.

  • GK_Meshaal Barsham


    Six members of the Qatar squad were either born in Sudan or born in the Gulf to parents from the East African country.

    Musab Kheder, Abdelkarim Hassan, Meshaal Barsham, Assim Madibo, Almoez Ali and Abdulaziz Hatem all made history with the World Cup hosts, while Sudan still await their first ever World Cup appearance.

  • FW_Yussuf Poulsen


    As well as Qatar’s Afif, Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen could have represented the Taifa Stars.

    Poulsen was born in Copenhagen to a Tanzanian father, and has made over 60 appearances for the Danish national side since making his debut eight years ago.

  • Cody Gakpo Netherlands USA 2022 World Cup


    One of the early stars of the World Cup group stages, Cody Gakpo could have featured for either Togo or Ghana.

  • Wahbi Khazri, Tunisia


    Represented by the Carthage Eagles, Tunisia fell at the first hurdle despite some heroic displays including a draw with Denmark and victory over France.

    They let themselves down with defeat against Australia.

  • Referee Janny Sikazwe, 2022 World Cup


    Despite making global headlines for his questionable performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia’s Janny Sikazwe was given the opportunity to represent Zambia at the World Cup.