Former Cameroon international Lauren believes African representatives to this year World Cup cannot challenge the rest of the world for glory in Russia.
Africa have never before produced a World Cup semi-finalist, but have had three nations — Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002), Ghana (2010) — all reach the quarterfinals.
Lauren believes the wait is set to continue, and that the final eight is the glass ceiling for any of Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal this summer.
“I could say Africa will be in the semis, we’re going to win, but that’s not the reality,” the former Arsenal man told BBC Sport. “To be honest with you I can’t see any of them going further than the quarterfinals.
“This is my honest opinion because we are still one step behind the top teams.”
Lauren, who won two African Cup of Nations crowns with Cameroon, represented the Indomitable Lions at the 1998 and the 2001 World Cups.
“I can’t see them challenge the Germans, Argentina, Spain or Brazil,” he added. “They are not on that level.”