Fear not, my friends – the African Cup of Nations is here and you’ll be an expert in African football by the end of the month.
Look, if you can’t boast about that, then at least you can boast about a nice touch from this treble if it lands!
DR Congo v Uganda: DR Congo – 11/10
The one thing you always need to check with the AFCON is where it’s hosted. If it’s an area of massive logistical difficulty to reach for some countries, then you should avoid them early in the tournament.
As it’s on in Egypt, and these nations border each other, we’re fine.
Now, for the obvious breakdown – the squads. Apart from captain and goalkeeper Denis Onyango who plays with South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, this Uganda team is lacking in a big way.
Bevis Mugabi plies his trade at Yeovil Town, but that appraisal is more from familiarity than it is from actual merit.
Two of the players (177 caps between them) don’t have clubs, while only three players have more than two goals at this level.
The Democratic Republic of Congo have Birmingham City standout Jacques Maghoma, West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku, Britt Assombalonga as well as players lining out for Standard Liege, Wolfsburg, Galatasaray, Porto, Stuttgart, Anderlecht and Antwerp.
As Delboy Trotter famously said – you know it makes sense.
Nigeria v Burundi: Nigeria (-2) – 7/2
This is Burundi’s first ever African Cup of Nations. Well, they withdrew in both the 1980 and 1998 editions.
So, that’s one in 32 tournaments that qualified for. I don’t know about you, but Burundi doesn’t seem to be one of football’s powerhouses. It may also be because Saido Berahino and Ferederic Nsabiyumva are probably the only two Burundi players people are familiar with.
Realistically, the inexperience here will hurt as much as the lack of high-profile players – there’s only one player playing in this squad who is over 29, and that’s Selemani Ndikumana, who plays for Al Adalh in Saudi Arabia – in the second tier.
Ahmed Musa had a cracking World Cup, and Nigeria’s win over Iceland and a narrow defeat to Argentina show them in a good light. Even their 2-0 loss to Croatia has a sensational form-line in retrospect. This side possesses Leon Balogun, John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi.
However, the omission of Kelechi Iheanacho is strange and they lack a big name up top which could stunt their progress in the competition.
Not here, though. All aboard!
* All odds correct at time of posting.