The making of the teams that reached the semifinals of the 2019 African Cup of Nations is indeed historical.
First, this is the first time an AFCON title will be played in the summer after a year of the FIFA World Cup. It also gives opportunity for CAF and Critics to look at these teams who represented Africa at the immediate global showpiece.
One thing three of the four teams (Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia) which reached the Egypt 2019 semifinal share in common is this, they were among the five teams that represented Africa at Russia 2018 World Cup.
A tournament in which all the five African teams exited from the global showpiece at the group stage. They may have performed badly at the FIFA World Cup, but they have also sent a message that they are capable of improving through continental performances to enable them plan ahead for the future.
Interestingly, the only team that reached the 2019 AFCON semifinal but was not at the Russia 2018 World Cup was Algeria. The North Africans who were coincidentally edged out at the qualifiers by Nigeria, will have an opportunity to get their pound of flesh from the West African side when they clash on Sunday at the Cairo International Stadium.
However, Algeria have failed to get a win against Nigeria in their last 7 meetings. They will be seeking to reach their first AFCON finals since 1990, when they hosted the Continental Showpiece and eventually defeated Nigeria twice to win the title .
Should they reach the final and meet either of Senegal or Tunisia. They will also be looking forward to make history by eliminating two major teams who represented Africa at the immediate World Cup which will be Nigeria and either of Senegal or Tunisia.
I remember having a chat sometime this year with former Kwara Football Academy Technical Director Paul Ashworth. In the Exclusive interview with headline: African Teams Will Get Worse In Qatar 2022. He stated that although African teams performed badly at Russia, the fittest among the five representatives at the Russia 2018 World Cup will win the Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations.
In his postulation , he mentioned either of Senegal or Egypt as possible winners, he probably did not give Algeria a chance. He did not see Algeria as a team that may clash with two of the five teams that represented Africa in Russia 2018 World Cup.
Fortunately, Algeria had already beaten Senegal in the group stage of the Egypt 2019 by 1-0. They will now face Nigeria, and whether they win or lose, they will still test their legs with another team that was at the global showpiece.
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