2019 Africa Cup of Nations Outright Winner - Senegal to snatch maiden crown
Lions of Teranga to roar loudest in Egypt
Aliou Cisse's Senegal can clinch their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title this year in Egypt. (Getty Images)
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Outright Winner Odds, Predictions & Betting Tips
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt is the first edition of the tournament to feature 24 teams. Some unfamiliar faces have the opportunity to ruffle a few feathers, but the big guns will have something to say and Senegal are in tremendous form.
Aliou Cisse’s men are in the middle of a golden generation and have won their last five matches. Hosts Egypt are likely to be among their biggest threats alongside Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
The action gets underway on 21 June with the final set for 19 July. Keep an eye on the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, John Obi Mikel and Kalidou Koulibaly during what should be an exciting tournament.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Winner Betting Odds
Senegal Form & Team News
The Lions of Teranga’s time to win the elusive Africa Cup of Nations could finally be here. Senegal reached the 2002 final but the team captained by Aliou Cisse fell short against Cameroon on penalties.
Cisse now has the chance to make amends as Senegal head coach and appears to be well on his way. Cisse led the Lions of Teranga to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and was unfortunate not to guide Senegal to the last 16.
Senegal have responded in style since then with a draw against Madagascar followed by five wins on the bounce. Two standout players for the Lions of Teranga will be Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane who finished the Premier League joint top scorer and Napoli central defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
The road to the knockout rounds should not be too rocky for Senegal as they are in Group C with Algeria, Tanzania and Kenya. Africa’s top-ranked side will fancy their chances of tournament victory.
X-Factor: Sadio Mane
Banana peel: Lack of winning history
Egypt Form & Team News
The bookies’ favourites are seven-time Africa Cup of Nations winners and 2019 host nation Egypt. Mohamed Salah will be the main catalyst for the Pharaohs and they will undoubtedly be a dangerous team with the Liverpool star in full flow.
Egypt will however need to find their best form at the right time as the Africa Cup of Nations draws nearer. Their last two matches at the time of writing were a 1-1 draw with Niger and a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria.
More concerning was Egypt’s relatively poor FIFA World Cup campaign last year. Javier Aguirre took over as head coach following the Pharaohs’ dismal showing and is leading the team into his first major tournament.
Egypt received a favourable Africa Cup of Nations draw as DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe will join them in Group A.
X-Factor: Home ground advantage
Banana peel: Inconsistent form
Ghana Form & Team News
The Black Stars were rocked before the tournament by the unexpected retirement and u-turn of star striker Asamoah Gyan. This was a sign that all is not well in the Ghana camp but Kwesi Appiah’s men cannot be counted out when discussing tournament favourites.
Ghana have won four Africa Cup of Nations titles but this counts for little as their last tournament success was in 1982. The Black Stars have however made the last six semifinals and stand a good chance of another should they make it out of Group F, containing Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau.
X-Factor: Knockout stage experience
Banana peel: Troubled build-up
Nigeria Form & Team News
A Nigeria squad which is ageing nicely under Gernot Rohr and contains several key names should be counted among the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations favourites. Group B will see the Super Eagles come up against Burundi, Madagascar and Guinea.
Nigeria are likely to finish top of their group with the likes of John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho helping them breeze past their opponents. How the Super Eagles will fare against more competitive nations is tough to predict.
Nigeria came close to making the knockout rounds of the 2018 FIFA World Cup but their road to the Africa Cup of Nations was not as smooth as they would have hoped. A 2-0 home defeat to South Africa as well as a 1-1 away draw nearly cost Rohr’s team first place in their qualifying group.
The three-time African champions last held the Afcon crown in 2013 but should be counted among the potential challengers for the throne.
X-Factor: Fast improving squad
Banana peel: Lack of success in recent years
Morocco Form & Team News
The Atlas Lions have not won the Africa Cup of Nations since 1976 but optimism will be higher now than in a long time. Moroccan football is on the up and in two-time African champion coach Herve Renard, they have a mentor who knows what it takes to win.
Renard sensationally guided Zambia to a shock Africa Cup of Nations title win in 2012 before repeating the feat with the more heavily fancied Ivory Coast in 2015. The Frenchman has made a significant impact on Morocco’s national team, making them an elite force again and presiding over their first World Cup campaign since 1998.
Morocco nevertheless remain outsiders at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after finishing bottom of their group at last year’s global showpiece. The Ivory Coast will be tricky opponents in Group D whilst South Africa have the potential to spring a surprise and Namibia will be determined to make a name for themselves.
Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech will be the key man for Morocco at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations but theirs is not a star-studded squad.
X-Factor: Herve Renard, Hakim Ziyech
Banana peel: Lack of alternative game-changing players
Ivory Coast Form & Team News
The Elephants enjoyed a golden period in their history between 2006 and 2015, reaching three Africa Cup of Nations finals and winning one, also playing in three World Cups. A barren spell followed but Ivory Coast are now adjusting to life after the likes of Kolo and Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba.
Serge Aurier, Eric Bailly, Franck Kessie, Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha are among the key players to don Cote d’Ivoire colours in the present era. They have plenty of work to do as they look to improve upon a disappointing 2017 campaign which ended in the group stage.
There is no doubt that the Ivorians possess the potential to return to their glory days. What is however in question is whether or not the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is too soon for them to realise their true capabilities.
Morocco will likely be the toughest Group D opponents for Ibrahim Kamara’s Ivory Coast but victories over South Africa and Namibia cannot be taken for granted.
X-Factor: Lots of players at big European clubs
Banana peel: Emerging from period of instability
Cameroon Form & Team News
The Indomitable Lions are the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions after seeing off Egypt in the 2017 final in Gabon. Cameroon nevertheless failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and their football is not at its peak.
Rigobert Song, Samuel Eto’o and Roger Milla wrote Cameroon’s name in the history books time and time again during years past. The current generation is crying out for a superstar of their kind although there are promising players in the ranks such as Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.
At least Cameroon are under the tutelage of a superstar in former AC Milan star Clarence Seedorf. He was however unable to convince Liverpool’s Joel Matip to avail himself for selection, a huge blow for the Indomitable Lions.
It would nevertheless be foolish to write off five-time champions Cameroon, especially given their unexpected success in the last edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Indomitable Lions are in Group F with Benin, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau.
X-Factor: Clarence Seedorf
Banana Peel: Lack of big names, instability
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Key Statistics
Senegal have won their last 5 matches (all competitions).
Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Egypt’s Mo Salah scored 22 goals in the English Premier League, sharing the golden boot with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Senegal were the only African country to pick up 4 group stage points at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Senegal are Africa’s highest ranked country on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings in 23rd place.
There are many strong squads heading to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and the hosts should be among the contenders. Senegal are however in the best shape of all competing countries and are tipped to lift the trophy at 8.00.
Best Bet: Senegal 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Winners @ 8.00 at bet365