All of Africa’s participants at the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup except for Senegal were in action on Wednesday and Thursday for their final exhibition matches before the start of the tournament in Qatar along with several other African nations who took part in friendlies against fellow African sides. Ghana and Morocco cruised to comfortable victories with the Black Stars giving supporters plenty to be excited about following their 2-0 victory over fellow World Cup side Switzerland. Morocco defeated Georgia 3-0, highlighted by an incredible strike from star attacker Hakim Ziyech while Tunisia also won with a 2-0 result over Iran.
Ghana looked comfortable in their new surroundings with constant pressure on the Swiss team leading to the best performance in some time from the Black Stars. After a mostly even scoreless first half, Ghana turned up the pressure once substitutes from both teams arrived before Mohammed Salisu headed in his first goal for the national team in the 70th minute. Antoine Semenyo finished off the victory a few minutes later after Kamaldeen Suleman’s shot attempt was deflected in the air for the Bristol City forward to volley home.
The Black Stars will face Portugal in their first Group H match and the group favorites prepared by facing Nigeria, who they defeated 4-0. The Super Eagles struggled to find chemistry on the pitch and fell behind by two goals from Bruno Fernandes before 35 minutes were complete. Emmanuel Dennis had a penalty kick saved in the 81st minute before Portugal tacked two more goals on late. Thursday saw another strong African side take on European competition with Egypt stunning world number two ranked Belgium. Clinical finishes from Mostafa Mohamed and Trezeguet lifted the Pharaohs to a very pleasing result in Kuwait.
Morocco got off to an excellent start in their matchup against Georgia in the United Arab Emirates. Youssef En-Nesyri finished for an important confidence boosting goal in the fifth minute and Chelsea playmaker Ziyech stole the show before the half hour by striking from midfield over Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili. Sofiane Boufal converted from the penalty spot in the second half to wrap up Morocco’s 3-goal victory.
Tunisian supporters received a boost of confidence with Wednesday’s 2-0 win over a fellow World Cup side, taking down Iran in a match that was decided in the final ten minutes. Naïm Sliti scored a penalty kick in the 85th minute and Ali Abdi scored soon after for the Tunisian victory. Cameroon encountered a difficult Panama side in Abu Dhabi, drawing 1-1 with Bayern Munich forward Eric Choupo-Moting scoring in the 48th minute for the Indomitable Lions before Michael Murillo equalized for Panama soon after.
On Wednesday, Ivory Coast thrashed Burundi 4-0 while Mali did well to draw 1-1 in Algeria against a host side that put a strong team out for the occasion. Zambia came back from a 2-0 deficit at halftime, playing well after the break to level the score in Israel through goals from Kings Kangwa and Larry Bwalya but falling 4-2 after two late goals for the hosts. South Africa surged back from an early goal to defeat COSAFA rivals Mozambique 2-1, Gabon defeated Guinea-Bissau 3-1 and Rwanda drew Sudan 0-0 on Thursday matchups between African teams.