We told you it was a bit mental, didn’t we? While the drama of the Cameroon women’s team certainly stole the headlines in recent days, there’s already been some stunning results in the African Cup of Nations and long may that continue.
Wednesday night sees the second round of games kick off and form starts to mean something. Well, as much as anything tangible can mean something in this crazy tournament. But hey, we’ve not had story lines this unrealistic since Karl Fletcher’s dog days at Harchester United and everyone knows they should relaunch Dream Team.
These two struggled on the opening day, as Nigeria struck very late against a harmless Burundi side, while Guinea had to come from behind to take a point off Madagascar. Neither side’s build-up was good enough because they didn’t have a focused attacking pattern, due to the distinct lack of a proper number nine.
Kelechi Iheanacho was left at home, while Kaba has yet to score for Dijon really isn’t up to much. This game has a tonne of talented midfielders, but very little else. Given that Nigeria would be content with keeping it tight, expect them to nick this, but Guinea will be relying on Naby Keita to find them a goal.
The problem is, he’ll be constantly dropping deep to pick up the ball. One for the purists, I reckon.
These two sides opened the tournament with very respectable displays. Their respective games also show the gulf in interest that locals have when it comes to matches including and not including their national side.
Egypt’s opener against Zimbabwe attracted 73,000 people, while in the same stadium just 16 hours later, DR Congo and Uganda was played out in front of just over 1,000 paying customers. Away from that, you could make a case that Zimbabwe were even more impressive in defeat than Uganda were in victory, so I’m happy to rearrange a form line to suit my theory here. Knowledge Musona has been prolific for The Warriors and his time will come shortly.
Khama Billiat can lead this unit to success, as a move out of the PSL might be on the horizon for him.
These sides are both a lot better than they’ve shown in their respective debuts, but given the short nature of these group stages, they haven’t got long to kick up the urgency. Egypt will win this game because they’re the host nation and they’ve got one of the best players in the world in Mo Salah.
But the Democratic Republic of Congo are now pushovers and it’s not long before the potent combination of Yannick Bolasie and Chancel Mbemba will haunt you. While a win for The Leopards is probably out of the question, they have enough about them in the final third to secure a goal or two against an Egyptian side who have a dependency on filing players forward.