Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and Egypt have been tipped to upstage defending champions Algeria in this edition of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The 24 teams are gearing up to put on quite the spectacle for viewers. 2019 winners Algeria will be looking to defend their crown, and teams with in-form talismen, like Egypt, will look to solidify their dominance with their 8th trophy (the most titles in competition history).
Senegal: Heading into the tournament, the Lions of Teranga have arguably the most talented squad. Senegal’s priority in this tournament should be along the lines of giving it their all to bring home the nation’s first AFCON trophy.
With their four wins in six games during the AFCON qualifiers, the Senegalese players have built a culture of winning. Senegal was placed in Group B with Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Guinea and Aliou Cisse’s men are statistically poised to win the group with relative ease.
Les Lions’ crop of players includes some of the finest Premier League stars like Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy. These superstars alongside names such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Keita Balde, Idrissa Gueye and Ismaila Sarr have the ability to change their fortune from the runner-up finish in 2019 to winners in 2022.
Egypt national team’s pedigree in the African Cup of Nations is the best out of all the participants. Having won the competition a record-breaking 7 times, an 8th looks likely for the Pharaohs.
Although the journey to lifting the trophy is full of a major group stage obstacle in the form of Nigeria, finishing top place could prove difficult but qualification for the knockouts is statistically guaranteed with Guinea-Bissau and Sudan being the other teams to make up group D.
This team has arguably one of the most in-form players in football right now in 29-year old Mohamed Salah. The phenomenal forward has notched 23 goals and 9 assists in just 26 appearances for English outfit Liverpool.
With head coach Carlos Queiroz’s tactical ability and Mohamed Salah’s attacking flair and leadership, the team looks ready to take the Cameroonian capital by storm and make themselves winners of the 2022 African Cup of Nations.
Nigerian national team has been dealt two significant blows seeing as they will have to participate without Victor Osimhen and in-form Emmanuel Dennis.
These players have the ability to lead Nigeria’s frontline but the Super Eagles have more than enough firepower and resilience to make up for it.
The Nigerians have to deal with the Egyptians, the Sudanese and the Guinea-Bissauns before reaching the knockouts but it should be a fairly easy task.
The Super Eagles squad list possesses a fine balance of veteran and youth names with the inclusion of players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, and Wilfred Ndidi.
Although new head coach Augustine Eguavoen was recently appointed, the Nigerian players can build a relationship quickly with him based on nationality ties.
With some luck, tactical brilliance, and the dynamic football the Super Eagles are known for, they can win the 2022 AFCON.
Cameroon: Indomitable lions of Cameroon will be looking to put up a good showing on home soil throughout the course of the AFCON.
They’ve won five out of their last six games, and considering the quality they have within their ranks, there’s a strong chance they could go all the way.
They’ll be looking to Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko-Ekambi to find the back of the net as both players have scored a combined 11 league goals for their respective teams thus far this season.
But while Aboubakar is expected to play an integral role during the competition, millions of Cameroonian fans will be hoping that Karl Toko-Ekambi in particular performs at his best, because on his day, he’s a fearsome striker.
In addition to six league goals, he’s scored six goals in six games in the Europa League for Lyon making him the joint-highest goalscorer in the entire competition.
However, despite finding much success at Lyon, Toko-Ekambi has struggled to make his mark on the international stage in the past, but after scoring the lone goal in Cameroon’s most recent fixture against Ivory Coast – there’s a strong chance that Toko-Ekambi could dominate the goalscoring charts at the AFCON.