Best National Football Teams in African History – Top 10 Most Successful

Football is the most popular sport in Africa. African teams are always a part of the FIFA World Cup Tournament and three African teams have made it to the quarter-finals. Here is a list of the best national football teams in African history.

Another great read: African Teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia – Review


Congo national football team

The Republic of Congo national football team is governed by the Fédération Congolaise de Footbal. The Red Devils claim to the list of the best national football team in African history is that they won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972 and the All-Africa Games football tournament in 1965.

They have never appeared in FIFA World Cup.


Morocco national football team

The Lions of Atlas is the nickname given to the Morocco national football team. The team’s manager is Hervé Renard. Morocco shows that they belong on the list of the best national football teams in African history by being the first African team to win a group in the World Cup. This happened in 1986. They were also the first African team to make it to the second round of the World Cup.

In 1976, they won the African Cup of Nations. The year 2012 saw them winning the Arab Nations Cup. Morocco national football team went to the World Cup four times with their best year being in 1986. The current home stadiums of the team are Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech and Stade Adrar in Agadir.


Senegal national football team

The Senegal national football team, nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, is the national team of Senegal and is controlled by the The Fédération Sénégalaise de Football controls the Senegal national football team, aptly nicknamed the Lions of Teranga. The Senegal national football team is on the list of best national football teams in African history as in their first and only appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 2002, they defeated World champion France 1-0 in the opening game.

After the massive upset in the opening game, Senegal went on to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup. They are one of only three African teams to reach this far. The Turkey national team knocked them out of the competition. Senegal has managed to finish in the top five of most of the Africa Cup of Nations. However, they are the record-breaking eight times champions of the Amilcar Cabral Cup, a regional football tournament for West African nations.

South Africa

South Africa national football team

The development of the South Africa national football team has been a struggle like much of South Afric’s history. But despite of all time, South Africa proudly holds a position as one of the best national football teams in African history. The South African Football Association controls South Africa national football team and the team’s coach is Stuart Baxter.

South Africa appeared for the first time in the 1924 FIFA World Cup Tournament. They received a ban for the next sixteen years and then because of the apartheid were suspended from playing for the next 40 years. Glory  came to South Africa when they became the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010. . Another record made at this World Cup was that South Africa became the first host country to exit in the group stage.


Algeria national football team

Algeria is another country with a national football team that continues to climb FIFA World Ranking. The Algerian Football Federation controls Algeria national football team. Their home stadium is Stade 5 Juillet in Algiers. Algeria is a four times World Cup qualifier with their last qualifier being in 2014. They won the Africa Cup of Nations only once in 1990. However, in 2014, they became the first African nation to scores in a World Cup match against South Korea.

A big rivalry exists between Egypt’s national football team and that of Algeria. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification, Algeria defeated Egypt 1-0. The rivalry escalated when Egypt defeated Algeria a few months later 0-4.

Cote d’Ivoire

The Ivory Coast national football team, nicknamed Les Éléphants (The Elephants), represents Ivory Coast in international football. Their continued presence in the FIFA World Cup makes them one of the best national football teams in African history. In 1992, they beat Ghana to win the African Cup of Nations and did so again in 2015.

If the Ivory Coast is not known for anything else, it must be known for producing a number of football stars who have in played in major leagues across Europe. These footballers include Yaya Touré, Kolo Touré , Didier Drogba among others.


Cameroon national football team

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon continue to show that they are one of the best national football teams in African history. The Cameroon national football team, controlled by the Fédération Camerounaise de Football, represents Cameroon in international association football.

This African team is the only national team that has qualified seven times for the FIFA World Cup with the last qualification being in 2014. Cameroon is the first African team to reach the quarter-final of the World Cup. This happened in 1990 and they lost to England in extra time. They are also five time holders of the Africa Cup of Nations.


Nigeria is another country with one of the best national football teams in African history. Governed by the Nigeria Football Association, the Nigeria national football team represents Nigeria in international association football. Before Nigeria’s independence, the national team was known as Red Devils but they are now referred to as the Green Eagles or Super Eagles.

The Nigeria national football is the three times winner of the African Champions, their latest win being in 2013. In 1997, they ranked at 5th place in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking by an African football team. They continue to make their name in African history by qualifying for six of the last seven World Cups and reaching Round 16 three times.



As early as the 1950s, Ghana had a national football team representing them in the international association of football. Governed by the Ghana Football Association, the oldest football association in Africa, the Ghana national football team is most popularly known as the Black Stars. They get their name from the Black Star of Africa in the Ghanaian flag.

In 2010, they became one of three African teams to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup. They have proved themselves to be one of the best national football teams in Africa having won the Africa Cup of Nations four times and being runners-up five times with the last time being in 2015. An unbeaten season in 2005 saw them receiving the FIFA Best Mover of the Year Award.


Egypt national football team

Not only does Egypt have historic sites and museum, it also has one of the best national football teams on the African continent. The Egypt national football team consists of a team of footballers who represent the country at international football games. The Egyptian Football Association controls the team and the current manager is Héctor Cúper. The team’s home stadium is Cairo International Stadium.

Once ranked at ninth position in the FIFA World Rankings, Egypt is one of three African teams to rank in the world’s top ten. This national team has won seven African Cup of Nations, the most won by any country.

At the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, they finished as runners-up to Cameroon. This increased their ranking from 60 to 19 in the FIFA World Rankings. Egypt has appeared only twice in World Cup. Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup on October 8, 2017.

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