Looking Ahead To The 2019 African Cup Of Nations
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations presents nations from across the continent to prove they are the best. But who is going to win? Who represents the best value?
Continue reading to see our friend’s thoughts and AFCON 2019 predictions.
AFCON 2019 Odds
Here are the pre-tournament odds on the winner of AFCON 2019 according to SkyBet:
AFCON 2019 Favourites
This year’s AFCON is perhaps the strongest the competition has ever been. Many of the teams competing feature some of the best players in Europe, competing and winning at the top level.
This makes for a very exciting competition and one that may not be as easy to predict as years gone by. Don’t be surprised to see any of the favoured sides beating each other in a one-off game.
The AFCON 2019 favourite is the host nation, Egypt. They boast a frontline that includes talisman and captain Mohamed Salah. He has had another incredible year, winning the Premier League Golden Boot for the second year in a row and scoring the only goal in Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League Final win over Spurs.
However, this means that the team could overly rely on Salah to be the difference maker. They are going to need him firing on all cylinders if they are to go all the way this year.
Senegal is hot on their heels in terms of the sports investing markets – and quite rightly. They look like an excellent tip to win the tournament, with a solid side front to back, with Kalidou Koulibaly marshalling the defence and Sadio Mane leading the line on the back of his best-scoring season.
AFCON 2019 Team Analysis
Rivalling Senegal for the most potent attacking threat at this year’s African Cup of Nations is the Ivory Coast. The front three are electric, featuring the talents of Wilfried Zaha, Nicholas Pepe and Maxwel Cornet. It’s difficult to see how fellow Group D sides South Africa and Namibia are going to cope.
Their toughest match during the group stages will likely be when they face off against Morocco. With Hakim Ziyech instrumental in Ajax’s impressive title-winning season, there’s certainly cause for concern. Add to the fact that head coach Herve Renard has plenty of experience winning the African Cup of Nations and you can start to see how much of a threat they can be.
At 9/1, Nigeria is another strong contender this year. In fact, they have yet to taste defeat since crashing out of the 2018 World Cup. Veteran captain John Obi Mikel and midfield partner Wilfried Ndidi will control the middle of the park. With forwards including Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi, they could cause many teams a lot of problems.
Overall, Senegal is the nation best equipped to win AFCON 2019. They possess huge depth, pace and power all over the field. If teams can figure out a way to stop Salah early on, the hosts will find it tough to go deep into the tournament.
Ones To Watch In AFCON 2019
While not considered a top tier side, Algeria has the potential to make a lot of noise this summer. In Riyad Mahrez, they have a world-class player in their ranks. He will be critical to their success. If he finds form, he will be a hard man to stop. At 12/1, they could represent good value.
Though Senegal is expected to win Group C, Algeria should be able to navigate past Kenya and Tanzania to qualify automatically to the next round. From there, they would come against the runner-up of Group A. Unless Egypt fails to win the group, Algeria would be expected to make it to the last 8. At this stage of the tournament, anything can happen.
Another side worth keeping an eye on this year is Guinea. Coming in at 16/1, online bookmakers aren’t pricing them with much of a chance but they have enough quality, particularly in midfield, to warrant a bet on an outsider.
The key to their success is Naby Keita. The midfielder has had his fair share of injury problems over the season but if he can stay fit, they have a chance.
Taking a look at their group draw and they find themselves against newcomers Madagascar and Burundi. These are matches Guinea expect to win, meaning that Keita can ease himself into the tournament, saving his best for tougher and more important matches later on.
Other than that, there are not too many other teams that have a realistic chance of winning. The 100/1 odds on Angolo may be one of the few nations worth looking at but based on the quality of the big sides this year, it’s tough to see them making you money as a viable bet.
New AFCON 2019 Format Predictions
The African Cup of Nations has been expanded to 24 nations for the first time in its history. Of the 24 teams, there are 3 sides making their first appearance in the competition: Mauritania, Burundi and Madagascar.
As exciting as it may be for fans to see their country at the highest level, the tournament could see a record-high number of goals scored at their expense.
Over the years, AFCON has failed to capture the audience compared to the European Championships or Copa America, with fewer goals scored per match. Since 2010, the number of goals per game has decreased from 2.45 to 2.06 in AFCON 2017.
The change in format also sees more than just the top 2 from each group advancing to the next round. Out of the 6 groups, the 4 best third-place teams will also qualify for the knockout stages.
It’s tough to predict who these top 4 nations will be. It’s tougher still to predict who or how many will advance further still.
With each group match that completes, the tournament will start to take shape. It may be worth holding off until the first round of matches have completed to see if any of the outsiders have shown enough to warrant a bet.