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World Cup squads: Africa’s unanswered questions

A photo of En-Nesyri, Mubarak Wakaso and Aliou Cisse

GOAL’s Ed Dove examines the key questions still facing Africa’s World Cup-bound head coaches.

Morocco: Can Regragui find a scoring solution?

Youssef En-Nesyri’s fall from grace has left a gaping hole up top for Morocco, with no convincing goalscorer available to Walid Regragui among his national pool.

Sevilla’s En-Nesyri will likely still join the squad, but he’s scored just five league goals since the start of last season—and none this term—so it remains to be seen what he can contribute in Qatar.

Cameroon: Can Wooh force his way in?

Stade Rennais youngster Christopher Wooh has made a series of encouraging outings in Ligue 1 this season, starting four league games since mid-October while also making his debut in the Europa League.

The centre of defence has been a weak point for Cameroon, with the pairing of Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and Jean-Charles Castelletto not entirely convincing.

Veteran and Africa Cup of Nations winner Nicolas Nkoulou—at 32—has been drafted back into the fold, while Wooh is also tipped to make Rigobert Song’s 26.

He only made his national team debut in June, but could he step into the Lions’ defence for the Mondiale?

Ghana: Does Mubarak Wakaso still have something to offer?

There were doubts about whether Black Stars veterans Asamoah Gyan and Mubarak Wakaso would be considered by Otto Addo for his extended squad.

Ultimately, while Baby Jet has not made the cut, Wakaso has made the 55-man longlist, fuelling hopes that he can enjoy a career swansong in Qatar.

He’s been an incredible servant to the national side since 2012, and has hit 70 caps, but he’s only featured for the Black Stars during the June international break in the last year.

Will Wakaso make the final 26, and does he still have something to offer the West African giants?

Senegal: Can Lions consider Saliou Ciss?

Saliou Ciss was starting Senegal’s victorious Africa Cup of Nations final in February, but only nine months later, he appears primed to miss out on the World Cup.

This isn’t because of injury, but rather because the full-back still hasn’t found a new club since leaving Nancy earlier this summer.

The 33-year-old is a valued member of the squad, and Aliou Cisse has hinted that he remains a part of his plans, but can the African champions really include a player who hasn’t kicked a ball since last season?

Tunisia: Will the star men be sharp enough?

More so than the other African sides heading to Qatar, Tunisia are heavily reliant on players featuring in the local leagues and star players featuring across the Arab world.

Given the different annual football calendars of some of these countries, some of the Carthage Eagles will be heading to the World Cup at a different place in their annual fitness cycle.

Star man Youssef Msakni, for example, won’t have featured in a competitive game—for club or country—for over two months before Tunisia take to the field in their World Cup opener.

Naim Sliti, based in Saudi Arabia, won’t have featured for almost two months, while it’s a similar story for influential midfielder Ferjani Sassi and Abah’s Saad Bguir.

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Jalel Khadri has pre-selected 16 players who will train together ahead of the European-based players being released, with all of this quarter being included, but will they be sharp enough to influence proceedings as Tunisia surely need them to come to the Mundial.

 

Source: goal.com

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