World Cup qualifying in Africa: What did we learn?
Ed Dove
October 15, 2021
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dream.

Gabon can still overhaul Egypt if they win their remaining two matches and the Pharaohs lose both of theirs, and they overturn a six-goal swing in doing so, but the prognosis is looking bleak.

Now 32, Aubameyang's prospects of featuring in the world Cup finals may have been extinguished.

Nigeria making life hard for themselves

Nigeria have an excellent record of qualifying for the World Cup since their debut appearance in 1994 -- missing out only once -- but they have also had their fair share of shocking qualifying fails, and they know how to make life difficult for themselves.

There was the infamous pipping by Angola in the race for the 2006 World Cup, not to mention missing out on the 1990 edition at the hands of Cameroon -- and their failure to reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, when they took just one point from games against Sudan, South Africa and Congo-Brazzaville in missing the chance to defend the title.

The same isn't going to happen this time around, is it?

Nigeria redeemed themselves somewhat by defeating Central African Republic 2-0 in Douala, but the 1-0 loss to the same side in Lagos three days earlier was arguably the lowest point of Gernot Rohr's tenure.

The result marked Nigeria's first qualifying defeat at home in almost 40 matches -- stretching across 17 years -- and it exposed limitations of this current Super Eagles crop, as they failed to contend with several high-profile absentees.

They remain in pole position in Group C, and on course to advance, but this international break has convinced no one that Nigeria will be a match for the likes of Algeria, Senegal or Morocco should they progress to meet them in the March playoffs.
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