African football has made a huge leap over the past few years, a fact that is vindicated by the successful continental tournaments that have continued to draw wide attention from fans across the world.
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is one such tournament that has continued to grow over the years.
Reserved only for locally based players, the fifth edition of the competition concluded on Sunday in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, with the host lifting the coveted trophy.
Morocco beat Nigeria 4-0, with three of those goals scored in the second half, and with Nigeria reduced to 10 men.
North Africa CHAN wins
The Atlas Lions’ win meant the CHAN trophy has now been lifted by three North African countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the only team from outside North Africa to have lifted the trophy, and it did so twice; in 2009 and 2016.
The other sides to have won the trophy before Morocco are Libya and Tunisia.
Morocco’s win is the latest statistic in a series of pointers that indicate North African teams are playing at better levels than other regions of Africa.
Not to forget, Libya reached the semi final of the CHAN 2018, only losing to Morocco in extra time.
North Africa seems to be performing pretty well compared to other regions of the continent.
2018 FIFA World Cup
The World Cup is scheduled to begin on July 14 in Russia, with 32 teams set to battle for glory in the quadrennial competition.
Africa has five teams in the tournament, three of which are from North Africa.
The teams include Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria and Senegal.
Many football lovers will agree that qualifying for the World Cup is test enough to know which teams are doing well in the continent and beyond.
2017 CAF Champions League
The 2017 CAF Champions League was the 53rd edition of Africa’s premier club football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and the 21st edition under the current CAF Champions League format.
Here too North African teams dominated, with Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca emerging winner of the competition.
Wydad defeated Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the final to win their second CAF Champions League title, and qualified as the CAF representative at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Also worth noting, the competition’s semi final stage was a North African affair, with Tunisian side Étoile du Sahel and Algeria’s USM Alger joining Wydad and Al-Ahly in search for glory.
In the quarter final stage, only two teams were from outside North Africa; Ferroviário Beira (Mozambique) and Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa).
Though very much open for debate, North Africa seems to be performing very well in African football.
Now however, focus will shift on various leagues across the world as fans still anticipate Russia 2018.