Fancy a flutter on the Afcon 2013 but have no idea what to go with. Feel free to rummage through our pack of tips and advice below after we ran the rule on each team intensively. We back Ivory Coast as favourites but not to win while the likes of Algeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso also come off favourably.
The African Cup of Nations 2013 gets under way this Saturday and we at HITC wanted to give you a quick lowdown on the teams to watch in this year’s competition. Last year I did something similar for my prior blog and did quite well. My suggestion that Gabon and Equatorial Guinea would over perform was justified which shows the affect home advantage can have; neither side has qualified this time around.
However I underestimated a certain Zambian side who ended up being crowned the champions in emotive circumstances; placing them 8th in the list of potential winners in Libreville.
While the likes of Senegal and Morocco let me down I took comfort from the small victories and this year after running the rule over all the teams here are my tips for the Afcon 2013.
Undoubtedly the favourites once again will be the Ivory Coast. The Elephants have been runners up in 2006 and in last year’s edition and this could be their final opportunity to win with Didier Drogba involved; one of the remaining pieces of their golden generation. With the likes of Yaya and Kolo Toure, Cheikh Tiote, Wilfried Bony, Salomon Kalou and Didier Zokora in the squad you can understand why they are held in such high esteem but in recent editions they have certainly got the yips when it comes to squeaky bum-time. In my experience the favourites rarely win the Afcon so don’t put your money on the short odds available here.
Hope is high that Bafana Bafana can keep the trophy in Southern Africa by winning on home soil but I still only rank them as 7th favourites for the competition. While they should advance from their Group compared to the likes of Nigeria, Ghana and Tunisia there doesn’t seem to be enough clout in the side to be victorious; despite a vuvuzela driven raucous home following.
In my eyes the smart money would be on Algeria. The Desert Foxes have rocketed up the World Rankings this year under the steady guidance of Vahid Halilhodzic and have seasoned pros such as Rafik Halliche, Mehdi Lacen and Yacine Bezzaz combined with raw untapped talent from players such as Sofiane Feghouli, El Harbi Hillel Soudani and Islam Slimani. They are a slick but organised side that will be extremely difficult to break down. However not many North African sides have ever won this far south so the likes of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have their work cut out to buck trend.
Zambia definitely should not be discounted but not many would begrudge you doing so. The win in 2012 was a magnificent achievement from Chipolopolo but the idea of the lightening striking twice seems unlikely. They do however have the bulk of that team still together and the Southern location may also help their chances but the likes of Ghana and Algeria would still fancy themselves over the 2012 kings of Africa.
Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mali should never be forgotten in an Afcon competition. Mali made the semi-finals last year and usually put in a solid performance while Tunisia and Morocco have plenty of talent that is often misused. Nigeria have picked a mixture of home-based and European based talent which could be a master stroke but they have a difficult Group to negotiate first.
Quite an apt position for The Stallions of Burkina Faso to adopt but they do have an outside chance of pulling off a shock this year. I have ranked them the 8th best team in the competition which is the same mantle bestowed on Zambia last year and they could certainly repeat the feat. Talented individuals such as Charles Kabore, Alain Traore and Jonathan Pitroipa have great support from the likes of Abdou Razack Traore, Bakary Kone and legendary striker Moumouni Dagano. If you fancy a fanciful flutter then the boys from Ouagadougou are a decent shout.
Not a chance
Togo simply cannot get out of their ‘Group of Death’ containing the likes of Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Algeria but if they do they might have an outside bet. Ethiopia, Niger and Cape Verde would be performing miracles to achieve anything but a first stage exit and while Angola may consider their chances rather more favourably they are unlikely to cause a big stir. DR Congo would have to now fall in to this category as well; after their head coach Claude Le Roy left the team just three days before their opening fixture.
Who will win it?
It is almost impossible to predict potential winners at the Afcon as it is almost always unpredictable in nature but if I was pushed for an answer I would hedge my bets on Ghana to win the competition for a fifth time. The likes of Christian Atsu, Isaac Vorsah, Kwadwo Asamoah, Richmond Boakye and the mercurial talisman himself Asamoah Gyan make them a strong outfit and the decision to leave out perhaps the more poisonous elements of previous squads such as the Ayew brothers and Sulley Muntari could prove to be a bold and brilliant decision by James Kwesi Appiah. In my eyes the Ivory Coast may be the team to beat but I think Ghana will do just that.
Here is our countdown of the favourites in ascending order…
1. Ivory Coast
7. South Africa
8. Burkina Faso
12. Congo DR
15. Cape Verde
Who do you think will win in South Africa?
image: © celsoflores