AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS 2017 BETTING TIPS AND PREDICTIONS
2015 Africa Cup of Nations Betting Tip
OUR BETTING TIP: IVORY COAST
Luckily for us, following the 2014 World Cup, we don’t have to wait too long before there’s another major international competition. Unfortunately for England fans hoping for a shot of redemption, I speak about the Africa Cup of Nations that begins in January 2015. The competition sees Morocco host the competition for the second time and 15 other nations will be battling it out for the chance to knock the defending champions, Nigeria, off their throne.
Nigeria won the 2013 AFCON in South Africa after their 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in the final of the competition. They overcame tough opponents on their way to the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, including tournament favourites Ivory Coast, in the quarters. The Elephants were yet again thwarted in their attempts to win their country’s second title and first since 1992, yet Didier Drogba will have to wait until Morocco to try and lead his side to victory, on what will most likely be his last attempt.
2015’s Top Contenders
There is little room for debate that this Ivory Coast side contains the most talent out of the teams in the continent with experienced players like Drogba and the Toure brothers: Yaya and Kolo. This ‘golden generation’ of Ivorian talent also includes Gervinho, who has excelled at Roma since joining them from Arsenal, as well as exciting left-back Serge Laurier and Swansea’s Wilfried Bony. The problem for Ivory Coast, however, is that they never seem to do well at big tournaments, always falling short and in their last three World Cups they have not made it past the group stage.
Champions Nigeria were able to do one better than the Ivory Coast and made it to the last-sixteen, beating Bosnia & Herzegovina and putting two past Argentina, albeit they lost the tie. In their second-round tie against France, they were able to fend off and worry the 1998 winners for the majority of the encounter, though two late goals by Les Bleus ensured they played no further part in the competition. Nigerian fans will have taken great encouragement from the performances of Lille’s Vincent Enyeama who, up to the point of their elimination, was arguably the keeper of the tournament. With several other established players, such as Premier League players Peter Odemwingie, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and captain Joseph Yobo, there is no reason why the Super Eagles can’t reproduce 2013’s heroics.
The only African side to join them in the last-sixteen was one of the tournament’s most impressive sides. Algeria defied the odds to make it into the second round of the group stages, advancing ahead of group rivals Russia and South Korea. The way they played was not in the least bit pretty, but they without question played with determination and desire, so much so that they took champions Germany into extra time before being eliminated. Their performances in Brazil have taken them to highest position of an African team in FIFA’s world rankings.
Ghana and Cameroon fans will want to forget this World Cup as soon as possible. For the former, despite taking Germany to a thrilling 2-2 draw in which they almost won while Asamoah Gyan became the Africa’s top scorer in World Cup competition, the country became laden in controversy. Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng were both expelled from the Ghanese camp hours before their final clash with Portugal while there was a furore over the failure of appearance fees being paid. The Black Stars will need to get their act together before they can start becoming a formidable force again, which they will do with young talent such as Christian Atsu and Kwadwo Asamoah.
For Cameroon fans, however, their chances of doing well at the 2015 AFCON are slim. They were woeful in Brazil, leaving the competition with no points, conceding nine and scoring only one. One should feel sorry for Cameroon fans, as it was a tournament in which their brightest stars shone weakest. Their long-serving captain and talisman, Samuel Eto’o, was anonymous throughout and will most likely retire sooner rather than later. Benoit Assou-Ekotto was in disarray at the back and Alex Song got himself sent off in their second game against Croatia when he inexplicably hacked down Mario Mandzukic.
Of course, with the Africa Cup of Nations, nothing is predictable. Two tournaments ago, huge underdogs Zambia took home the trophy while its most successful country is Egypt, who have only made the World Cup finals on two occasions yet have one the ACON seven times.
Having said this, our early prediction for winner is Ivory Coast, simply because it is about time with the array of talent they possess. In addition, with it likely to be Drogba’s last international tournament, we fancy him to do the same for his country as what he did for Chelsea in the Champions league final and bring home the one cup (other than the World Cup) that has eluded him.