The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers kicks off this week. With big-hitters under new management and exciting encounters, African football promises to be intriguing. Here are the Things to look out for in AFCON Qualification. Bet on the qualifiers here.
Fresh starts for Cameroon, Morocco and Egypt
Cameroon, Morocco and Egypt, three of Africa’s biggest teams are set to make fresh starts after a dismal Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign. Cameroon were knocked out in the last 16 of this year’s a situation which resulted in the firing of Clarence Seedorf. He was replaced by Portuguese Toni Conceicao who will lead the Indomitable Lions in their first AFCON 2021 qualifier against Cape Verde. Meanwhile, former Algeria, Ivory Coast and Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic will lead his Morocco team against Mauritania in a Group E clash in his first competitive match. The Pharaohs, on the other hand, will begin their qualifiers under new management. Hossam El Badry replaced current Leganes boss Javier Aguirre who was sacked following a poor tournament. Egypt will host Kenya in a Group G encounter.
Stern test for Algeria against Zambia
Algeria’s outstanding 2019 AFCON resulted in them winning the title for the first time in 1990. Although the triumph is still fresh in the memory of the team and fans, they will have to continue their good form when they face Zambia in Lusaka. Chipolopolo failed to qualify for the recently concluded AFCON tournament but have proven to be a difficult opponent for many teams across the continent. They’ve lost just once in their last seven home matches in AFCON qualifiers. In fact, the 2012 AFCON champions have just lost twice in qualifiers since 2006. The Desert Foxes have won three of their last seven away matches in qualifiers. In that run, they’ve been beaten by the likes of Mali and Benin. Can they get a win against a tough Chipolopolo side?
Clash of Group C’s top two; Ghana v South Africa
The Black Stars and Bafana Bafana failed to impress in the 2019 AFCON but are looking to start building momentum starting with the 2021 qualifiers. These two are definitely the top two teams in Group C which includes Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe. Meetings between these two have always been cagey. The Black Stars team is not always what it used to be a few years ago but with the young prospects coming through; the future is not that bleak. For Bafana, they appointed an unheralded Molefi Ntseki as their new coach after Stuart Baxter’s departure. Ntseki has never been in charge of any senior team and will be severely tested in Accra, a match which will show his team’s credentials following a decent tournament.
Kenya’s poor away form
Kenya qualified for their first AFCON tournament in 15 years last June but performed dismally. Their journey to the 2021 AFCON starts against with a difficult Group G match against giants Egypt under new management. Harambee Stars have a poor away record in the qualifiers. They’ve not won away from home since 2006, a damning statistic which spells doom for them on Thursday and they’ll obviously need a miracle to win in Egypt. Can they upset the Pharaohs?
Senegal’s winning run to continue?
The Lions of Teranga have an impressive record in the qualifiers. They’ve won 13 of their last 14 matches in the qualifiers. On paper, they probably have the best team on the continent. They kick off their 2021 qualification campaign against Congo Brazzaville and in their current form, only a miracle can stop them from winning this one. They have won their last seven home matches in the qualifiers. Aliou Cisse’s men are still favourites to win the 2021 edition and the latest ‘Golden Generation’ should continue with their splendid form.