With barely three weeks before they name their provisional squads, all the five African countries to play in Qatar took advantage of this week’s international break to engage in friendlies.
Ghana was the only African side to win its final friendly on Tuesday night before it names its provisional squad for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar in November.
The Black Stars defeated South American nation Nicaragua 1-0 on Tuesday night in the Spanish city of Lorca as the continent’s five sides wrapped up their preparations.
The highlight of Tuesday’s game was talented teenage midfielder, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, who curled in from the edge of the box in the 34th minute to give Ghana the victory over the South Americans.
The Black Stars, who changed several players who took part in Friday’s 3-0 defeat to Brazil, could have won the game by a wider margin but their attackers could not convert several scoring opportunities they created in the second-half.
The two matches, over the past week for the Black Stars, have been important as they prepare to take on Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay in Group H at the World Cup.
Senegal held by Iran
The Taranga Lions of Senegal were held to a 1-1 draw by fellow World Cup-bound, Iran in Austria. An own goal by Morteza Pouraliganji gave Senegal the lead in the match against Iran but Sardar Azmoun restored parity moments later.
The African champions defeated Bolivia 2-0 a few days ago and the two matches during the international break has given coach Aliou Cisse the best chance to observe his players.
The two matches have also served their purposes for Senegal which will face hosts Qatar, Ecuador and the Netherlands in Group A of the World Cup.
Likewise, Morocco managed to hold Paraguay to a goalless draw in Spain, giving new coach Walid Regragui a good start in his tenure as Atlas Lions coach, having defeated Chile 2-0 a few days ago.
With striker Hakim Ziyech returning following a nine-month absence, the North Africans will be confident when they play Croatia, Belgium and Canada in Group F at the World Cup.
Cameroon and Tunisia suffered defeats
However, Cameroon and Tunisia, two other World Cup-bound countries, lost their matches.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia were handed a 5-1 defeat by five-time world champions, Brazil while the Indomitable suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to South Korea.
The defeat to Brazil means the Tunisians have more work to do before they kick off their World Cup campaign. The Carthage Eagles will play France, Australia and Denmark in Group D of the World Cup.
Cameroon, on the other hand, ended its international break with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of South Korea to make it two defeats in two matches.
England-based Son Heung-min scored the only goal in the first-half in Seoul on Tuesday to give coach Rigobert Song a rude awakening ahead of the finals in Qatar.
The Indomitable Lions, the first African side to reach the World Cup quarter-finals, will play Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland in Group G of the global tournament.