AFCON 2021 is right around the corner. The tournament was originally scheduled for June and July 2021, but it was postponed due to unfavorable climatic conditions in west-central Africa. Cameroon will host the Africa Cup of Nations as they are one of the favorites to win it.
The Indomitable Lions will play against Burkina Faso in the long-awaited opening game, planned for January 9th, 2022. Who are the other favorites to lift the trophy? Who can be the pleasant surprise of the tournament? We will discuss these and other things in this article.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and all the other star players have already arrived and are taking part in team training.
The start of the tournament is going to consist of two games on opening day, followed by three or four group games every matchday.
The two top teams of each group will advance to the knockout stage along with the four best third-placed teams based on points. The knockout stage begins on January 23 with the quarterfinals on January 29, the semifinals on February 2 and the final and third place games on February 6.
The odds: Who will win it all?
7 of the 24 teams quallified to the tournament without a loss. Qualifying for AFCON was very tight, with 10 of the 11 qualification groups decided by a one or two point margin.
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez will try his best to defend Algeria’s title. However, he will face competition from Egypt and Senegal, both led by Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
A strong Morocco side have not lost a game in 90 minutes since 2019 can also boast the talents of Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi, Wolves’ Romain Saiss and Barcelona’s Ez Abde. Vahid Halilhodzic’s decision to exclude Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech over supposed disciplinary breaches is one that Morocco manager will hope doesn’t come back to bite him. Nigeria will be without one of their biggest stars. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen is down with COVID-19 and is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone and eye socket sustained back in November.
Here are the top 10 teams predicted to win with odds provided by DraftKings and BetMGM:
AFCON 2022 GROUP WINNERS
DraftKings and BetMGM also provide odds for group winners, with BetMGM’s odd showcased bellow. (The odds only relate to winning the group, not advancing from it.)
Senegal is the favourite to top Group B (-550). Algeria, Egypt and Morocco have longer odds to win thei group given the quality of their opposition.
|Group A||Cameroon (-200)||Burkina Faso (+300)||Cape Verde (+500)||Ethiopia (+2500)|
|Group B||Senegal (-550)||Guinea (+500)||Zimbabwe (+1600)||Malawi (+2200)|
|Group C||Morocco (-145)||Ghana (+180)||Gabon (+550)||Comoros (+4000)|
|Group D||Egypt (-145)||Nigeria (+115)||Guinea-Bissau (+2200)||Sudan (+4000)|
|Group E||Algeria (-200)||Ivory Coast (+150)||Equ. Guinea (+3300)||Sierra Leone (+4000)|
|Group F||Tunisia (-185)||Mali (+150)||Gambia (+2000)||Mauritania (+3300)|
AFCON 2022 Top Scorer
Mohamed Salah has more international goals than any other player in the tournament. Algeria’s attack is loaded, with Riyad Mahrez joined by Baghdad Bounedjah boasts an impressive goalscoring record with Qatari club Al-Sadd, bagging 128 goals in 108 games.
Ivory Coast’s attack is represented by Ajax’s striker Sebastian Haller and a pair of Premier League wingers in Nicholas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha. Haller has scored an incredible 10 times in six Champions League group games.
Here are the 15 players with the shortest odds to win the top scorer award, courtesy of BetMGM.
|Sebastien Haller||Ivory Coast||+1200|
|Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting||Cameroon||+2500|