By Hawa C. Bangura
The World Football governing body has published a list of 54 African countries that will be competing for the 2026 World Cup qualifier and Sierra Leone is placed in group A with Egypt, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
All 54 Africa countries are drawn from group A-I respectively.
For Leone Stars, a much tougher competition awaits especially with the North Africa Country of Egypt which can boast of International Football Stars like Mohamed Sallah of Liverpool and other recently emerging young stars in top European and Asia cubs. Although Sallah’s physic by 2026 will probably not be the same, it is expected that Egypt has always had a cause for rejoice as any other Egyptian player can equally take the reign.
Comparatively, Burkina Faso has also filled in many international players for top clubs in France and their previous performance in similar African Cup competitions show that Burkina Faso is one West Africa countries that has always produced a professionally competent midfield and attack players very fast and collective at all times. Guinea Bissau in recent ratings has shown a promising attack and defense play with a lot of experience owing to their Portuguese Coach, their exit as compared to yesteryears has vastly improved
Anyone can bet of a win over Ethiopia and Djibouti whose national teams are not up to expectations especially in championship competitions. While we expecting that the winner of any group is expected to take part in the World Football Competition, that means 9 teams may represent the African continent and even if it doubles to 18 African countries Leone Stars chance of qualifying are still handing.
Three years from date, Leone Stars is expected to show vast improvement, a collective defence that is vigilant on the right and left flank, a smart intervention from the center back for rapid passes to the waiting mid fielders. A midfield in readiness not to waste time but pursue the ball with target to a free zone attacker, a midfield which equally supports the attacking team in the case of back passes to space the rivals and an attack and midfield aggressive players with shooting skills directly to the net. Time is still enough to find room for improvement and this will be better judge with our African Cup qualifier series which is now played every year.