Even though there is still one more 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying round in Africa, here are some of the most high-profile Africans, including the continent’s record scorer in World Cup history, who will miss the showpiece in Russia.
Riyad Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the last two winners of the prestigious CAF African Footballer of the Year award, but neither will participate in next year’s tournament.
Despite having several high-profile players such as Mahrez and Islam Slimani in their squad, Algeria had a qualification campaign to forget. The Desert Foxes, who were only one of two African sides to reach the knockout stages in Brazil in 2014, only picked up one point from their five qualifying games in Group B, with leaders Nigeria having already booked their ticket.
Aubameyang’s Gabon, meanwhile, were never counted among the favourites to make it to Russia, and they struggled in Group C. After picking up just one win from their first five qualifiers, Gabon can only watch from the sidelines as second-placed Ivory Coast and group leaders Morocco battle it out for a spot in Russia on the final matchday of qualification.
Asamoah Gyan is Africa’s all-time record scorer in World Cup history after netting six goals in the past three tournaments. However, Ghana failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002, and had to watch Group E winners Egypt celebrate their place in Russia.
Naby Keita (Guinea)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Christian Atsu (Ghana)
Mario Lemina (Gabon)
Thomas Partey (Ghana)
Islam Slimani (Algeria)