Our Pulse Sports Picks for Top African Sporting Moments in 2022 cut across different sports, selected based on various impacts and accomplishments had in specific sports.
Senegal crowned AFCON Champions in Cameroon
The men’s football team of Senegal, won the coveted African Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy for the first time in their country’s history.
Former Liverpool star, Sadio Mane was his country’s shining star at the tournament as he led his teammates to victory, defeating Mo Salah’s inspired Egyptian side on penalties.
For their victorious outing, Senegal won the hearts of millions of football-loving fans globally, who would not stop talking about them being the best nation in the continent.
High-flying Flamingos at World U17 Championships
The exploits of Nigeria’s women’s U17 team, the Flamingos, at the World U17 Championship can be termed as ‘Golden Bronze’.
Before they departed for the championship in India, little was known of the team led by Coach Fatai Olowokere, but the girls gave a good account of themselves. They finished second from a tough group that included Germany, Chile, and New Zealand.
In the quarterfinal playing against the USA, a determined Flamingos dispatched the Americans 3-4 on penalties to advance to the semifinal, where they eventually lost to Colombia 5-6 on penalties.
However, in the third-place match against Germany, the Nigerian youngsters were down 3-0 but fought back to draw level. They claimed the Bronze medal by beating their European counterparts 3-2 on penalties.
Flamingos’ third-place finish in India was the first time they moved beyond the quarterfinal stage in a FIFA U17 World Cup.
Aruna Quadri ranked best in Africa
Nigerian Table Tennis Legend, Aruna Quadri secured his spot as the best table tennis player in the continent this year, becoming the first African to rank top ten in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings in 2022.
In May, he was ranked number ten in the world, making him the first Nigerian or a black table tennis player to break into the top echelon of the ping pong game.
The former world player of the year also won the men’s singles title at the ITTF African Championship in Algeria in September.
Quadri had an incredible year with his performances in international games, and he will now end the year as world number fifteen with 1745 points.
Kipchoge’s supremacy in the marathon
Kenya’s long-distance and marathon great, Eliud Kipchoge won the 2022 Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:01:09, which surpassed his previous World Record (WR) by 30 seconds, set on the same course in 2018.
His victory in Berlin is his fourth in his career, and he also won the Tokyo Marathon.
Kipchoge was a finalist for the 2022 World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year but lost to Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis.
Ons Jabeur Tennis historic feats
This year, Jabeur became the first and only Muslim and Arab player, male or female, to reach a singles grand slam finals at both the Wimbledon and US Open, where sadly, she finished as runner-up on both occasions.
The 27-year-old Tunisian became the highest-ranked African and Arab Tennis player in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings history, attaining a WTA career high of world No. 2 achieved on 27 June 2022.
Jabeur, was awarded the 2022 Peace Champion of the Year Award. The prestigious award rewards an athlete who has led a significant and sustainable sports initiative, which was presented to her during the Peace and Sport Awards ceremony held in Monaco.
Her influence extends well beyond the tennis world, as her country has followed her achievements, representing so much to many people outside her native Tunisia and becoming a role model for women athletes in the Arab and Muslim community.
Sadio Mane’s Ballon d’Or accomplishment
The Senegalese football star became the first African player to finish in the top three in the Ballon d’Or voting since George Weah won it in 1995.
Mane had a phenomenal year, leading Senegal to its first-ever international trophy in the 2022 African Cup of Nations, where he was directly involved in five goals (three goals and two assists) in seven games.
He scored the winning penalty in the AFCON final and repeated the feat during the World Cup qualifiers, as he guided Senegal to the World Cup for the second time running after they missed out on the previous three editions.
Morocco reaching the FIFA World Cup semifinals
Morocco was undoubtedly the underdog story of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, as the North-African football team became the first African nation to reach the FIFA World Cup Semi-finals.
Having had a solid group stage performance, Morocco looked to have overachieved – beating Belgium and Canada. Along with getting a point against Croatia, they went on to be the second African nation to top their group.
In the round of 16, they squared up against Spain, who many tipped to be favorites for the match due to their status in world football.
However, Morocco did not cower to the status, playing a strategic game against the former world champions, and then going on to win the match on penalties, and becoming the third African country to reach the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals saw them face another favorite, Portugal, but that did not stop them as they were dogged defensively – despite missing three key players in defense. They went on to score the only winning goal by En-Nesyri, which saw them become the first African team to reach the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup.
Although they lost the semifinal match 0-2 to France and eventually the third-place to Croatia, the North-African nation already made not just their country but millions of Africans and Arabs proud.
Tobi Amusan’s incredible World Championships victory
In athletics, Tobi Amusan achieved the most incredible individual feat in Nigeria Athletics history by running a World Record (WR) of 12.12s in the 100mH semifinals, and even a much improved time of 12.06s (2.5) to win the final at the World Championships in Oregon.
Her winning time of 12.06s, though illegal due to the excessive wind reading, is the fastest all-time in all wind conditions, meaning it also stands as a WR, certifying she is the fastest sprint hurdler in history.
Amusan is the first Nigerian and African woman in history to set a WR and be crowned World Champion in the event, meaning no African female athlete in history that has ever competed in the event achieved this feat.
The 25-year-old is also Nigeria’s first World Outdoor Champion, equaled by Olusoji Fasuba’s World Indoor 60m title at Valencia 2008. Her WR as well stands as an African Record (AR) and Nigerian Record (NR).