It will soon be the 3 months anniversary of Nigeria's infamous double draws against Ghana that effectively pulled the plug on Super Eagles' Qatar World Cup participation via away goals rule.
Whilst many Nigeria fans still feel disappointed, others ask whether the Super Eagles have the birthright of World Cup qualification.
Indeed, Nigeria doesn’t have the birth right to participate in FIFA World Cup tournaments based simply on the number of teams currently allocated to Africa.
Think about it, at the moment, there are currently 10 undeniable powerhouses in African men’s senior football. These are:
1) Algeria 2) Morocco 3) Cameroon 4) Nigeria 5) Tunisia 6) Egypt 7) Ivory Coast 8) Senegal 9) South Africa 10) Ghana
You also have ranked but formidable outsiders like Zambia, Mali, Congo and Burkina Faso.
So, at any point in time, the hopes of 5 of the 10 heavyweights of African football will unfailingly be dashed in world cup qualification.
In 2018, Nigeria qualified for the world cup that we probably had no business qualifying for owing to the nature of our qualification group and the dire state of our football at the time (having failed to qualify for successive Afcons).
Unfortunately, in 2022, we then failed to qualify for the world cup that we probably should have qualified for owing to the strength of the current Nigeria squad compared with Ghana.
That is just how the cookie crumbles.
Nigeria always has just a 50/50 chance of qualifying for any world cup which is the same as all other powerhouses in African football.
Ivory Coast, Egypt and South Africa all join Nigeria in staying at home in 2022 while the likes of Algeria (who pushed Germany all the way in the 2014 world cup) have now missed back to back world cups.
If only Africa can have 7 allocations, then Nigeria’s odds of qualifying for the world cup will improve; conversely so will the odds of Nigeria’s rivals in Africa.
This year, the following 5 teams will fly Africa's flag in the global fiesta: Cameroon, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco.
Nigeria on their part have participated in 6 world cup tournaments since their 1994 curtain raiser.
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