10bet Africa best performing small nations at AFCON

7 February 2022

This weekend, the Africa Cup of Nation draws to a close in spectacular style. This year’s tournament certainly outdid itself and served up drama, upsets, surprise contenders and an impressive display of new talent; all-in-all, an impressive showcase of the beautiful game.

The beauty of the AFCON tournament is that all teams start on a level playing field. It’s anyone’s game as the teams stake their claim for the trophy. As a result, coaching staff and players encounter tests that are generally not on their radar. 

In this edition of the AFCON tournament, we saw small nations reach new heights and giants fall. Countries like Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Ivory Coast were tipped to reach the last four stages of the tournament, but they all went out quite early. However, their exit allowed the football-loving continent to pay attention to the smaller nations.

10bet Africa will look at some of the small nations that performed well and made sure their countries are proud of them and; these teams entertained and were revelations in the tournament.

The Gambia

AFCON debutante, The Gambia, took the tournament by storm. They had their first goal, win, and made it to the last 16 and quarter-finals, eventually losing to Cameroon.

Comoros

Comoros were also in their debut AFCON campaign. Little was known about the island nation; many people did not even know they played football. Unfortunately, they lost their opening two games to Gabon and Morocco in the group stages.

Their last group match was against Ghana, a nail-biting game that could easily be a top contender for the “Match of the Tournament”. Comoros won the match 3-2 and sent the Black Stars of Ghana crashing out of the tournament.

Comoros made it to the last 16 as one of the four third-placed teams, thanks to that win. In the previous 16, they met Cameroon and lost 2-1. They celebrated even in defeat because their run was excellent.

Malawi

Malawi is a country known for its beauty and hospitality. They are also one of the biggest football-loving nations in East Africa.

In this AFCON tournament, they had a star player in Gabadinho Mahango. The Orlando Pirates striker scored a brace to give his side their first win at the AFCON; beating Zimbabwe 2-1.

He then followed that up with a wonderful long-distance strike against Morocco. The goal came out of nowhere, and it showed his technical abilities. The goal is expected to be the “Goal of the tournament.”

Looking ahead to life after AFCON 2022, we can expect to see much more from these three nations. The 2022 AFCON has given them a platform to launch from and to be regular teams in the tournament.

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