The long-awaited African Cup of Nations 2019, (AFCON), begins today Friday in Egypt with arrays of African stars, mostly plying their trade in Europe, on display.
African Cup of Nations Cup is one of Africa’s biggest showpiece and the dream of an African player.
Africa News24 (AN24) reports that 24 teams will be taking part in this year’s games, the tournament has been expanded from the 16-team format. This means that 12 teams will qualify from the group stage automatically, with four best losers to make it 16 teams for the Round of 16.
The team for this year’s tournament are: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote’D Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The biggest players of the tournament are Salah and Mane. Both players were key to Liverpool’s winning of the Champions League and runner-up in the Premier League.
In Nigeria, Odion Ighalo, who plied his trade in China is another player to watch. He was the highest goal scorer in the qualifier, with 8 goals to his kitty. Nigeria’s hope rests on him to rediscover his scoring formula.
However, in the opening match of the tournament on Friday, host Egypt square up with an underdog, Zimbabwe. Egypt is expected to win easily, but Zimbabwe has been impressive in the build-up to this tournament, holding the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a goalless draw in Nigeria.
There is no escape for Zimbabwe today as Egypt is expected to claim a vital three points, especially when buoyed by ferocious fans and home support.
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