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Africa Nations Cup 2021 Odds: Full preview of all 24 AFCON finalists

Africa Nations Cup 2021: Can Mo Salah lead Egypt to their 8th AFCON title?
Africa Nations Cup 2021: Can Mo Salah lead Egypt to their 8th AFCON title?

The Africa Cup Of Nations , Cameroon 2021 begins on Sunday 9th January and here at BettingOdds.com we will have extensive coverage including pre tournament prop bets and match previews building up to the final which takes place on the 6th February. 

Ian Wright recently stated that the Africa Nations Cup was being disrespected by the media and English Premier League clubs - Not here at BettingOdds.com it's not Ian! We have a full preview for you on all 24 teams with information on star players, top scorers and odds to win the tournament. But first we'll give you a little run down of Africa's most important of tournaments. All games are being shown live on Sky Sports with 10 being shown on the BBC. 

History

The tournament dates all the way back to 1957 when it was held in Khartoum, Sudan as a three team contest between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia; South Africa were meant to take part but were thrown out due to apartheid policies by the government of the time. There was only two matches in the original tournament and the Egyptians were crowned the first African Champions. By the time the tournament reached Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1961, the field had grown to nine teams and since 1968 its been a biennial event. 

By 1998 the AFCON had grown to 16 teams and in 2013 the tournament switched to odd numbered years, in order to avoid the World Cup which took place the same year. This year due to the Covid delay, World Cup 2022 will take place in the same year however. A final expansion took place in 2017 when the final competing number of teams was increased from 16 to it's current 24. The 2021 AFCON(played in 2022 due to Covid pandemic) will be the 33rd edition of the event - Egypt are the winningest team in its long history with seven trophy wins.

Winners List: 

Team WINNERS
EGYPT 7 (1957 1959 1986 1998 2006 2008 2010)
CAMEROON 5 (1984 1988 2000 2002 2017)
GHANA 4 (1963 1965 1978 1982)
NIGERIA 3 (1980 1994 2013)
IVORY COAST 2 (1992 2015)
ALGERIA 2 (1990 2019)
DR CONGO 2 (1968 1974)
ZAMBIA 1 (2012)
TUNISIA 1 (2004)
SUDAN 1 (1970)
ETHIOPIA 1 (1962)
MOROCCO 1 (1976)
SOUTH AFRICA 1 (1996)
CONGO 1 (1972)

Format:

A total of 24 teams will take part in the tournament finals. The host team Cameroon, received an automatic qualification spot, while the other 23 teams had to earn their place at AFCON 2021 via a qualification tournament. 

The 24 teams were drawn into six groups of four teams, who each play each other in a single round-robin format. The top two from each group and the four highest ranked 3rd placed teams advance to the last 16 round. From there the teams play in a straight knockout format until two teams are left to contest the final. 

Host Grounds:

There are six grounds being used to host the games in Cameroon:

Stadium City Capacity
Olembe Stadium Yaoundé 60000
Japoma Stadium Douala 50000
Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo Yaoundé 42500
Roumdé Adjia Stadium Garoua 30000
Kouekong Stadium Bafoussam 20000
Limbe Stadium Limbe 20000

Groups:

Afocn Groups
Afcon Carousel Twitter 800x800 Egypt

The Favourites:

Senegal - 9/2

Key player - Sadio Mané has scored more than 60 per cent of all the goals in the Senegalese squad and in qualifying scored two goals and assisted two more. His form has recovered after a patchy spell at Liverpool  and he's scored 10 goals in all competitions this season. Can Mané break Henri Camara's record goal tally of 29 in this tournament? He's currently standing on 26.

UK based players - Seny Dieng (QPR), Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea),  Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City), Ismaila Sarr (Watford)

Prediction - Senegal qualified with ease from qualification and they should do the same for the knockout stages here. They have terrific strength in depth and its hard to see them not reaching at least the Semi Finals. If they can get past a probable tie with Egypt there, then they could win their first AFCON title. They are the highest ranked side in the FIFA Rankings so if they win this, could they potentially gain support in the World Cup Winner Odds markets?

Afcon Carousel Twitter 800x800 Algeria

Algeria - 11/2

Key player -  Riyad Mahrez has been in stunning form for his club side Manchester City and if he can keep up that sort of form with Algeria then it's more than possible they could go back to back champions. Mahrez has six goals and four assists in the Premier League this year and the Algerian captain was involved in six of Algeria's goals in just four appearances in qualifying. Islam Slimani was their top goalscorer in WC qualifying and will be involved heavily here too.

UK based players -  Said Benrahma (West Ham), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Prediction - As mentioned above, if Mahrez can fire here then it's very possible they will retain their 2019 crown. Looking at their group, they should top it above Ivory Coast. From there they should face Morocco, Ghana, Egypt or Nigeria in the Quarters and if they can get through that then who can stop them?

Afcon Carousel Twitter 800x800 Egypt

Egypt - 8/1

Key player Mohamed Salah is favourite for the 2022 Ballon D'or and in most people's minds is the best player on the planet right now.  He leads the Premier League in Goals, Shots, Shots on target and Assists and he will surely cause absolute havoc here. 2022 could be a magical year for the player and should Egypt qualify for the WC at the end of the year then would you bet against him being high up in the World Cup Top Scorer Odds?

UK based players - Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Trezeguet (Aston Villa)

Prediction - Egypt are 3rd favourites and their hopes pretty much rest solely on the broad shoulders of Salah. The record seven-time winning champions will be expecting to win here but I'm not sure they have the strength in depth to support Salah and there are better overall teams.

Afcon Carousel Twitter 800x800 Ivorycoast 1

Ivory Coast - 8/1

Key player - Sébastien Haller has exploded onto the scene and takes over the role of key player from Milan's Franck Kessie. The Ajax star has been in sensational form in the Dutch league(24 goals) and in the Champions League, where he is the leading scorer with 10 goals. The French born player switched to the Ivory Coast set up as recently as 2020 and will be a massive threat for them here. 

UK based players - Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Willy Boly (Wolves), Maxwel Cornet (Burnley), Jean Michel Seri (Fulham), Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Prediction - Ivory Coast look short at 8/1 in a group that features Algeria. If they don't top the group then they will likely face Senegal. If they win against Algeria then their route to the later stages will open right up. With Haller on board, don't count them out.

Cameroon 10/1

Key playerVincent Aboubakar is Cameroon's second highest ever scorer (25 national goals) after Samuel Eto'o (50)  and together with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (15) will be a twin threat for the Indomitable Lions. The 29-year-old has played football in France, Portugal and Turkey but currently plays his football for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. 

UK based players - James Léa Siliki (Middlesbrough)

Prediction - Cameroon will be banking on home support to take them to the later stages of the tournament but a bigger help could be their defence and new Inter goalkeeper André Onana. They conceded only four goals in qualification and didn't concede in the group stages in 2019. They could potentially face Algeria in the Semis which could be a real tough prospect.

Nigeria 11/1

Key player - This could be one of 3 or 4 players but with the loss of leading striker in qualifying, Victor Osimhen, and Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, I'm going to opt for Leicester's forward Kelechi Iheanacho. It's goals that gets you through tournaments and Iheanacho will be expected to score the goals for the Super Eagles, ably assisted by Nantes' Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze who are both excellent chance creators.

UK based players - Semi Ajayi (West Brom), Joe Aribo (Rangers), Alex Iwobi (Everton), Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi (both Leicester City), Frank Onyeka (Brentford), William Troost-Ekong (Watford)

Prediction - The three time winners should qualify but they are in the same group as Egypt which could see them in a tricky route to the final should they finish second. They could find themselves playing Algeria in the 2nd round and I can't see them getting past The Greens.

Morocco 11/1

Key player - Leading scorer in AFCON qualification Hakim Ziyech strangely misses out, having not featured for the Atlas Lions since last July. One player who could step up in his absence is QPR's superbly talented attacking midfielder Ilias Chair, who has been causing huge problems for defences in the Championship. Other key players include Sevilla's Youssef En-Nesyri and Achraf Hakimi who plies his trade at PSG.

UK based players - Ilias Chair (QPR), Imran Louza and Adam Masina (both Watford), Romain Saiss (Wolves),

Prediction -  Morocco are a sleeping giant and haven't won since 1976 but they will be hoping to make the later stages here. They are currently ranked 28th in the FIFA world rankings; the second highest ranked in the whole competition. 

Ghana 16/1

Key player - Thomas Partey is becoming a key player in the new younger looking Arsenal line up and he plays a similar role for the Black Stars. He will be expected to hold the midfield together and provide driving runs and passes to the ageing Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan.

UK based players -  Daniel Amartey (Leicester City), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), Thomas Partey (Arsenal), Baba Rahman and Andy Yiadom (both Reading), Joe Wollacott (Swindon Town)

Prediction - Ghana's group looks incredibly tough , including both Morocco and Gabon and they will likely need to finish in the top two here to avoid an early exit in the tournament.

Outsiders:

Tunisia - 18/1

Key player - Wahbi Khazri was a flop at Sunderland but before and since that he has had a brilliant career in France and has scored 22 goals for the Eagles of Carthage. He is the figurehead of the team and their captain.

UK based players - Mohamed Drager (Nottingham Forest), Hannibal Mejbri (Manchester United), Omar Rekik (Arsenal),

Prediction - Tunisia have a relatively easy draw and should finish top, however, they are likely to face either Algeria or more likely Ivory Coast in the last 16. Both will be extremely hard to progress against. 

Mali - 25/1

Key player Yves Bissouma is a sight to behold playing midfield for Brighton in the Premier League and he has been recalled by Mali for the first time since 2019. He will be a key figure if they are to progress here.

UK based players - Yves Bissouma (Brighton), Moussa Djenepo (Southampton)

Prediction - They have a very favourable draw which means that if they finish second in the group to Tunisia, they will likely play Guinea in the last 16. Should make the quarter finals at least. 

Burkina Faso 40/1

Key playerEdmond Tapsoba is only 22 years old but he has been superb for Bayer Leverkusen since joining from Portugal. He rarely gives the ball away and is a fantastic ball carrier.

UK based players - Bertrand Traore (Aston Villa)

Prediction -  The Stallions should qualify from their group in second, but face a potentially tough 2nd round game in which they will struggle to progress.

Guinea - 50/1

Key playerNaby Keita has recently fallen out of favour at Liverpool but he is still Guinea's leading player and will be their talisman in this tournament. He scored two goals in qualification and will be hoping to bag again here. 

UK based players - Naby Keita (Liverpool)

Prediction - Guinea should end up playing Mali in the last 16 if all results go as planned. They would be an outsider but will fancy themselves to progress.

Today's Football Tips

Gabon - 75/1

Key playerPierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not having a good time of it at the moment. First he was shunned at Arsenal due to disciplinary issues and upon landing in Cameroon has tested positive for Covid-19. That said, he is Gabon's sole hope; scoring over 50% of the goals in the total squad. 

UK based players - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Ulrick Eneme Ella (Brighton)

Prediction - The Gabonese 'Brazilians' should finish 3rd in their group behind Morocco and Ghana and if they qualify as one of the highest ranked teams then they should lose in the last 16. 

Cape Verde - 100/1

Key player - Djaniny plies his trade at Trabzonspor in Turkey, who sit top of the Super Liga. Their top goalscorer in qualification was Ryan Mendes.

UK based players - None

Prediction - The Blue Sharks will hope to beat Ethiopia to finish 3rd in the group but even if that happens, they will likely play a group winner and exit.

Gambia - 100/1

Key player - Musa Barrow has seen his stock rise since moving to Bologna and will be the driving force for Gambia. Their top scorer is Assan Ceesay.

UK based players - Ebou Adams (Forest Green Rovers), Ibou Touray (Salford City)

Prediction - The Scorpions best bet is a 3rd place finish above Mauritania in the group. Again they would finish a group winner and have little to no chance of progressing. 

Guinea Bissau - 200/1

Key player - Their highest profile player is probably Moreto Cassama who plays for Stade Reims in Ligue 1. Leading scorer in Piqueti.

UK based players - Panutche Camara (Plymouth Argyle), Fernandy Mendy (Alloa Athletic)

Prediction - The African Wild Dogs only real chance is beating Sudan and hoping to progress to the last 16.

The Longshots: 

Ethiopia - 250/1

Key player - Shimelis Bekele is one of only 2 players in the Walia Ibex squad that play outside their home country and is their 5th record goal scorer with eight. 

UK based players - None

Prediction - Ethiopia are a true sleeping giant, having not won this tournament since 1962. They have the 2nd lowest FIFA ranking and qualification from the group looks very unlikely.

Zimbabwe - 250/1

Key player -  Jordan Zemura has broken into the Bournemouth first team, starting 18 games at left-back this season for the Cherries. Their goals(if any) will likely be scored by Knowledge Musona who is the highest scorer in the squad.

UK based players -  David Moyo (Hamilton), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth)

Prediction - The Warriors have never made it out of the group stage but have a chance here if they can beat Malawi to finish 3rd.

Mauritania - 250/1

Key player - The most high profile name in the squad is ex-Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara who now plays in the Greek Superleague for Aris. 

UK based players - None

Prediction - This is only the second ever ANC for the Lions of Chinguetti and they will be praying for a result first up against Gambia which looks likely to be vital. 

Sierra Leone - 400/1

Key player - 37-year old Kei Kamara is the 5th highest scorer in the MLS but hasn't scored regularly for the national side. They have also recently gained Steven Caulker after his switch to Sierra Leone. 

UK based players - Sullay Kaikai (Wycombe Wanderers), Osman Kakay (QPR), Idris Kanu (Peterborough United), David Sesay (Wealdstone)

Prediction - The Leone Stars have not qualified in their previous two appearances but will be hoping for a 3rd place finish here after a big recruitment mission in Europe to bolster the squad. 

AFCON Top Goalscorer Preview

Equatorial Guinea - 500/1

Key player - Their most famous player Pedro Obiang is unavailable through injuryLeading scorer and captain Emilio Nsue will be familiar to Middlesbrough fans but he hasn't played for a few months now and the majority of the rest of the squad are all lower league players. It's going to be a very tough ask. 

UK based players - None

Prediction - Believe it or not, Equatorial Guinea finished in fourth place back in 2015 but they are a shell of that side. They will finish bottom of E behind Sierra Leone.

Malawi - 500/1

Key player - Gabadinho Mhango has 11 goals for the national team. The Orlando Pirates striker is 29 years old but hasn't scored for the side since 2019.

UK based players - None

Prediction - The Flames are about to be put out. No chance of qualification here. 

Comoros - 500/1

Key player - 32 year old El Fardou Ben Nabouhane has scored almost 50 goals in just over three seasons in Serbia , playing up front for Red Star Belgrade. 

UK based players - None

Prediction - The Coelacanths have qualified for their first ever AFCON here and that should be recognised as a magnificent achievement. Unfortunately they are well out of their depth and will drown to the bottom of Group C.

Sudan - 500/1

Key player - The Sudanese squad only features two players who have played outside Sudan. Mohamed Abdelrahman is his country’s most expensive player and scored eight international goals in 2021.

UK based players - None

Prediction - The Falcons of Jediane have a long and proud history in African football and won the whole tournament back in 1970 when hosting the event. Unfortunately their fall from grace is total and they arrive here having recently sacked their manager. They are unlikely to finish above Guinea-Bissau but nothing is impossible.

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