Sunday World (South Africa)

World Cup: Stars missing in action in Qatar

What do Ryan Giggs, Abedi Ayew, Eric Cantona and George Weah, have in common? Back in the day, they were world-class players, but these former greats never played on the biggest stage, the Fifa World Cup.


For those that will miss out through injury this time, Ng’olo Kante of France stands out. But Sunday World’s Tiyani wa ka Mabasa will today focus on the top ten players who won’t be in Qatar when the 2022 Fifa World

Cup gets underway next


1. Erling Haaland (Norway) Certainly the biggest name on this list at the moment. The Norwegian has been in great form for Manchester City and all eyes would’ve been on him in Qatar, but it wasn’t to be as Norway failed to qualify. The last time they made it was in 1998. Haaland has 21 goals in 23 appearance­s for Norway so far, but he may never play on the biggest stage.

2. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

The Liverpool star had a World Cup to forget in 2018. Egypt lost all three games and crashed out in the group stage. Salah sat out the first match because of an injury and had a fight with the Egyptian FA over image rights. To rub salt to the wound, the Pharaohs will not be in Qatar.

3. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy) Considered one of the best goalkeeper­s in the world, Donnarumma, unfortunat­ely, will have to sit this one out too after his country failed to qualify. But at just age 23 and already with 49 caps, he’d be eager to help Italy redeem themselves and make it to the 2026 tournament

4. Luis Diaz (Colombia) The Colombian winger has shown what he can do at Liverpool, but things haven’t gone so well in the national team colours. The 25-year-old scored just two goals in 16 appearance­s as Colombia finished sixth in South America’s qualifying group.

5. Marco Verratti (Italy)

The PSG man would’ve reached a milestone at the World Cup, with his 50th cap for the Azurri. He was in the 2014 World Cup squad, making two appearance­s, but Italy have now missed back-to-back

Erling Haaland of Norway during the Uefa Nations League League B Group 4 match against Sweden June in 2022. /Getty

World Cups (2018 and 2022), despite winning the Euro 2020 tournament.

6. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)

The Nigerian striker is showing a lot of promise at Italian Serie A club, Napoli. Osimhen reached new heights in late October when he became the first Nigerian to score a hattrick in the Italian top-flight and with 15 goals from 23 appearance­s for the “Super Eagles”, he could’ve been one of the players to look out for in the Nigerian team.

7. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

The North Africans lost out to Cameroon in the playoffs and Mahrez, of Manchester City, was left devastated. Now ranked fifth in Africa, Algeria was once the top country in the continent and perhaps their failure to qualify presents an opportunit­y to reflect on why there’s been a slight decline.

8. Paul Pogba(france)

The Juventus midfielder was inspiratio­nal when he led France to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He misses out this year due to injury. Les Blues will miss his defence-splitting passes and long-range efforts. He sometimes helps out in defence.

9. Martin Odegaard (Norway)

The Arsenal skipper has been under the spotlight, leading the Gunners’ charge for the Premiershi­p title. But on the home front, things are not as rosy with Norway finding no way into the World Cup.

10. David Alaba (Austria)

Now turning out for Real Madrid, Alaba has done fairly well in his career that includes a successful time at Bayern Munich. But coming from a country that last qualified for the World Cup in 1998 means playing at the tournament may remain just a pipe dream for the 30-year-old.

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 ?? /Visionhaus ?? Mohamed Salah of Egypt during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group A match against DR Congo in Cairo.
/Visionhaus Mohamed Salah of Egypt during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group A match against DR Congo in Cairo.
 ?? /Getty Images ?? Paul Pogba of France, with World Cup trophy at the 2018 rendition.
/Getty Images Paul Pogba of France, with World Cup trophy at the 2018 rendition.

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