African Cup Of Nations Group A Guide

African Cup Of Nations Group A Guide

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African Cup Of Nations Group A Guide

Gabon

Qualification

Hosts Gabon have had the easiest of all qualifications, as they reached the group stages due to the fact that the tournament is being held in their country. It should have actually been played in Libya before the Confederation of African Football took back their rights to host due to an ongoing war in the country that would have made the competition far too risky. Although it would be more important to assure the safety of fans, players and officials, it was a relief to fans of African international football that they didn’t have to call off the competition entirely, now situated nearly two thousand miles safe in Gabon.

Star Man

It’s not surprise that Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes the cut head and shoulders above the rest, scoring twenty-one goals in twenty-three appearances this season for club and country, currently one of the world’s most in-demand strikers. He was linked with Manchester City and Real Madrid in the summer but opted to stay at the German club, where he was continued to be their most important player, always troubling opposition defenders. Other honourable mentions include Cardiff City centre-back Bruno Ecuele and young Sunderland midfielder Didier N’Dong.

How far can they go?

Despite it sounding unfair on the rest of the squad, the reality of Gabon’s fate rests in the hands of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. If he comes into the competition poorly, it’s unlikely they will make it past the group stages but if bursts into the game with as much desire for goals as he shows in the Bundesliga, he could drag his side as far as the semi-finals, before likely dropping out.

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Burkina Faso

Qualification

After embarrassingly losing their first game to Botswana, things weren’t looking all too positive for Burkina Faso, but bounced back with a narrow win over Uganda before drawing 0-0. Luckily for Paulo Duarte’s side, they held their own and won their remaining two games against Comoros and Botswana, which put them at the top of the group, which really just shows how close the four teams were as they were level on points with second place Uganda.

Star Man

The country’s current top scorer is Jonathan Pitropia, who currently plays his football in the Arabian Gulf League with Al-Nasr. He will helped by fellow veteran striker Aristide Bance. They also have aspiring Chelsea attacker Bertrand Traore, who has spent his season on loan at Dutch giants Ajax. After those three, there aren’t many other notable figures in the squad apart from former Olympique Lyonnais and current Malaga defender Bakary Kone, who will be The Stallions’ best chance at keeping out opposition attackers.

How far can they go?

As they are lacking in the sorts of players that top quality sides need to push into the later stages in major competitions, it’s expected that Burkina Faso will fall at the first hurdle and only manage to make it as far as the group stages. Even if they had a single key player to bring their games to life, as Gabon have with Aubameyang, they would struggle, so it will be an impossible task with nobody notable to mention.

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Cameroon

Qualification

Opening up with a straight-forward win over Gambia, Cameroon have looked like one of the stronger sides in the tournament, even though they drew with South Africa twice in a row after their opening win. Things picked up immediately after after, winning both remaining games against Mauritania and Gambia. They finished top of their qualifying group, ahead of second place Mauritania by a distinct six points.

Star Man

Tough striker Vincent Aboubakar is the player who will be likely to cause the most damage against sides who face The Indomitable Lions, helped by Olympique Lyonnais defender Nicolas Nkoulou, loaned-out Tottenham Hotspur forward Clinton N’Jie and have further options in their back-up squad with West Bromwich Albion right-back Allan Nyom, Norwich City defender Sebastian Bassong, former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song and Schalke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting eagerly waiting for a call-up. Liverpool defender Joel Matip would have been a great addition in solidifying their defence but he refused to feature for the side, opting to help Jurgen Klopp’s title challenge back in Merseyside.

How far can they go?

With such an underrated squad, there’s nothing saying that Cameroon won’t surprise some opponents and push as far as the quarter finals, especially if Vincent Aboubakar takes his firing boots with him to Africa’s west coast. They will struggle at the back without Joel Matip, who has been a solid defender for Liverpool since signing for free in the summer, but they should push far into the tournament, with them likely to make some late call-ups for players in the reserve squad.

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Guinea-Bissau

Qualification

The chance to qualify for the African Cup Of Nations wasn’t looking good for Guinea-Bissau in the early stages, losing 4-2 at home to Congo before beating Kenya twice. They then defeated Zambia by three goals to two, playing out their final game of the group as a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Congo, which made little different as they had topped the group a point clear of second place Congo.

Star Man

Expectedly, Guinea-Bissau don’t have many recognisable players to go by, but we expect midfielder Zezinho to be the side’s most vital player, after being a crucial part of their qualifying games and looking influential in the team’s attack. He will be helped by fellow-midfielders Bocundji Ca and Toni Silva, with forward Joao Mario hopeful up for being the nation’s top scorer.

How far can they go?

Although their qualifying games show a lot of promise and even more fight, they won’t be able to compete against the likes of Senegal, Algeria and Gabon, leaving them forced out of the tournament in the group stages, finishing behind Gabon and Cameroon, who have to top the group and are sure to with the arsenal of players they possess.

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Recommended Bets:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to finish as tournament top scorer (Best priced at 9/1 on William Hill) – BET HERE

Cameroon to win Group A (Best priced at 11/8 on William Hill) – BET HERE

Guinea-Bissau to finish bottom of Group A (Best priced at 4/7 on SkyBet) – BET HERE

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