With Mohamed Salah set to miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, football lovers look back at five other occasions Africa’s best players have missed the global event.
Failure to qualify for the World Cup is always a crushing blow for the players, and we can only imagine how they feel in that situation.
Over the years, Africa has produced amazing football talent, but there have been times when the continent’s top players have been unable to compete in the World Cup.
Let’s look at five instances in which Africa’s top players failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Liberia’s great—and current president—George Weah was never put to the test in a World Cup due to his representation of one of the continent’s all-time minnows.
Weah led Liberia to two Nations Cup victories, which is an incredible achievement in and of itself, but the World Cup proved too much for the AC Milan legend.
In 1989, 1994, and 1994, he was elected African Footballer of the Year, and he was without a doubt the continent’s finest player when he missed the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.
Salif Keita was Africa’s first Footballer of the Year, winning the award in 1970. Salif Keita was, without a question, one of Africa’s top players at the time.
Keita won both the league and the Coupe de France with Saint-Etienne that season, scoring 21 league goals after developing an excellent relationship with Les Verts’ star player Herve Revelli.
Even though Keita was a phenomenon at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Mali was unable to qualify. The Eagles have yet to compete in the event. But all we can do now is hope that Mali qualifies for the World Cup as soon as possible.
Samuel Eto’o is without a doubt one of Africa’s greatest players, and his accomplishments speak for themselves. After winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002 and competing in four World Cups in a row between 1990 and 2002, Cameroon was largely expected to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
The Indomitable Lions, on the other hand, fell short after being grouped with Egypt and the Ivory Coast in a horrible qualifying group, with Pierre Wome’s famous missed penalty against Egypt in Yaounde denying Cameroon a fifth consecutive berth.
It meant Eto’o, the African Footballer of the Year for three years in a row from 2003 to 2005, would be unable to compete in the 2006 World Cup, denying Africa’s best player the opportunity to show himself at the top level once more.
Abedi Pele was one of Africa’s greatest all-time players and, at times, the continent’s star man in the late 1980s and early 1990s, despite Ghana’s inability to qualify for the World Cup.
Despite missing out on the event multiple times during his 16-year international career, the African superpower only made it to the tournament for the first time in 2002, two years after the veteran had retired.
Despite never making it to the World Cup, he won the Africa Cup of Nations, Ligue 1, and the Champions League, and the icon will be able to watch his children, Andre and Jordan Ayew, try to reach new heights with Ghana in Qatar later this year.
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool is the most recent player to be ruled out of the World Cup, despite being recognized as one of Africa’s and the world’s top players. Mo Salah is one of the top players who will miss the World Cup this year.
The Liverpool striker is having a terrific individual season, having previously been the Premier League’s all-time highest African scorer, and might still be in contention for some major awards at the end of the season.
This season, Liverpool is chasing the quadruple, and Mohammad Salah will be crucial if the English club is to win further championships.
Mo Salah, on the other hand, has had a terrible few months on the international stage, having played for Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final before missing a penalty in the World Cup playoff against Senegal on Tuesday.