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Best African football teams right now (Part 1)

Nigeria

Gernot Rohr’s relatively young squad led the Super Eagles to third place in the African Cup of Nations after a convincing overall campaign, which included a 2-0 defeat to Madagascar and a consequential semi-final defeat to Algeria (1-2). 

Nigeria, who claimed a satisfying win against their neighbours, Cameroon (3-2) in the Round of 16, will be comforted by the good results at the start of the new season. They’ve registered draws against Ukraine and Brazil, and victories over Benin and Lesotho.

The Nigerian Football Federation still owes a lot of money to Rohr, who may not see through his contract which ends in June.

Madagascar

Tunisians will dispute this choice after finishing in fourth place at the AFCON. They eliminated Madagascar in the quarter-finals (3-0), but the Barea put on a stunning display with their attacking football.

They beat Nigeria (2-0) and Burundi (1-0), while drawing against Guinea (2-2) in AFCON’s first round. In the Round of 16, Madagascar drew against DR Congo (2-2) before winning on penalties (4-2).

Their two victories against Ethiopia (1-0) and Niger (6-2) in Niamey in November have paved the way for a second consecutive qualification for a team that’s long been accustomed to anonymity.

Tunisia

Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri in a duel with Madagascar’s Thomas Fontaine in Cairo on 11 July 2019.

The Carthage Eagles placed fourth in the AFCON – their best performance since 2004. A rocky season for the team led to the departure of Alain Giresse in August.

In Egypt, they came close to an early exit in the first round after some poor performances. They also lost to Senegal (0-1) in the semi-finals. Tunisia claimed six points towards their 2021 AFCON qualification, sweeping aside Libya (4-1).

Benin

The Squirrels have never made it past the first round of the AFCON until this year. Their modest squad drew three times in the first round, including against Ghana (2-2), Cameroon (0-0) and Guinea-Bissau (0-0).

Benin surprised many by eliminating Morocco in their qualifying match but their adventure ended against Senegal (0-1).

Benin left the competition looking like a disciplined and well-organised team.

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