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Is it safe to say that Africa lacks a true dynasty? And by dynasty, I mean the Brazilian and Spanish squads of the 2000s conquering the world or Real Madrid in the 60s. Although Cameroon won back-to-back AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002, and Egypt topped the feat by winning the AFCON in 2006, 2008, and 2010, Africa’s elite is very even in quality.
Their parity shows when it comes to Africa’s performances in the World Cup. The nations enjoy limited success on the world stage. Only three African nations reached the World Cup quarter-finals, and no African nation has gone beyond that. For the most part, AFCON is a merry-go-round that can throw off the favorites with just the slightest tempo changes, and the World Cup dumps the African nations seemingly at the first chance it gets.
It could change going into 2022.
Senegal, led by an astonishing Sadio Mane, took home the 2022 AFCON with so much drama, storylines, and vigor that it would not make a bad movie. They took first in their group despite only scoring once, but went on to smash two past Cape Verde, and three past Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso. Facing Egypt, they left things to the very last minute until Sadio Mane coolly slotted a penalty to secure Senegal’s first-ever AFCON title.
They repeated the feat almost the same way in the final round of World Cup qualification, besting Egypt thanks to the heroics of Edouard Mendy and a little help from the fans. Considering their recent accomplishments, which include a knockout in Qatar 2022, their starpower, and the impressive culture they’ve cultivated around their national team, they could be the team to watch going into 2026’s World Cup.
So I went back around ten months back in time to replicate the whole experience. In a video game, of course.
I greet the head of the Senegal FA gratefully. They inform me that I got the Senegal post over Cisse, and brief me with a quick run-down of their facilities, players, and their roadmap. Of course, I did my research.
Taking advantage of Mane, Mendy, and central defender Kalidou Koulibaly will be crucial to my tenure as Senegal's boss, and there are some spirited young players that I can come to rely on in some years (if I stay in the job long enough).
The Senegalese team presents its goals for the 2021 season. It seems easy enough to accomplish. Reach the third round of World Cup qualification? Easy. Qualify for the 2023 AFCON? Too easy. Way too easy. Maybe I should make it a bit harder.
To succeed in this save, I must accomplish all three of my self-imposed tasks in FM23. Keep in mind this could take years or even centuries.
Win four AFCONS in a row
Egypt set the record for the most consecutive AFCONS won, winning the 2006, 2008, and 2010 AFCON titles. Winning four would not only cement our dominance in the present day but put us firmly into the history books.
Win a World Cup
No nation from outside Europe or South America ever won a World Cup or even appeared in a World Cup final. Even getting to the semi-final would be unprecedented for this Senegal side, so winning a World Cup would show the world that Africa means business.
Become the #1 team in the FIFA World Rankings
Other African nations came close to this impressive feat. Nigeria reached #5 in 1994 when they won the AFCON and advanced to the Round of 16 in the World Cup. During Egypt’s impressive run of championships, they reached #9 in the FIFA World Rankings. Yet #1 is held for only an elite clique of countries. Reaching #1 would topple that.
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