Africa turns to Senegal, Tunisia for inspiration
Given a wobbly start at the ongoing Fifa World Cup, it seems Africa has a lot of ground to cover in Russia.
The spotlight is now cast on Senegal and Tunisia to offer the continent some renewed hope after Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco started on a losing note.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia face England tonight (8pm) in Group G that also has debutants Panama and Belgium.
The Lions of Teranga will meet Poland tomorrow (5pm), the same day that will mark a make-or-break for Egypt who face hosts Russia (8pm).
Many pundits believe Senegal - back at the global showpiece after an 16-year absence - have a strong chance to advance in Group H that also houses Colombia and Japan.
The west African powerhouse boasts some of the finest talent that took European football by storm .
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has at his disposal players who enjoy regular game time in England in the likes of Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United) and Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke).
However, all eyes will be on star striker Mane who is set to make his World Cup debut at the back of having banged in 20 goals for Liverpool, including 10 in the Uefa Champions League.
The stage is set for Senegal and Tunisia to turn the table for Africa after Nigeria lost 2-0 to Croatia on Saturday following on Friday's defeats of Morocco by Iran (1-0); and Egypt by Uruguay(1-0).
Mohamed Salah is expected to return to the Pharaohs' line up after the Egypt team doctor yesterday declared him "100% ready" to play against Russia tomorrow.
The week will get tougher for the continent. Morocco meets Portugal on Wednesday, while Nigeria take on Iceland on Friday.