Here we go, here we go, here we go. The groups are settled, Tanzania embarrassed themselves and it’ll take something special to stop Algeria.
But forgetting those formalities and allowing yourself to slip into a semi-conscious state where anyone can win this tournament, it’s time to get excited because the greatest football competition currently taking place in this particular part of Africa is kicking into gear now.
Yes, it’s the knockout rounds of the 2019 African Cup of Nations and they begin on Friday, July 5th.
And the opening two fixtures feature two sides who should comfortably get through. Yep, because that’s the narrative African football always presents us with, isn’t it?
Here’s a delicious double to set you up for the weekend.
I don’t particularly understand this price, frankly. Yes, goals have generally been at a premium in this tournament and nerves generally kick up a notch when you get into the knockout rounds of a competition, but how many games have you seen 15/8 for both sides scoring a goal?
You could look at this as a bit of a mismatch of course. Senegal should be winning this comfortably and they’re one of a number of teams yet to concede a goal in this edition of the African Cup of Nations.
But Uganda, perhaps the surprise package of the whole lot, have held their own against tough opposition, too. They came out of a group where three teams qualified and finished second with four points. Their only defeat was to Egypt on the final day and that’s hardly a condemnation of their chances.
Emmanuel Okwi has netted twice, and they’ve scored in each of their first two games.
Settle in and watch this leg roll into your pocket after the first few minutes.
Benin came third in their group and only managed to score in a single game in the group stage. If you contain Mickael Pote, you have their measure.
And Morocco certainly have the defensive resolve not to concede in this, having yet to concede at all. They probably look the best defensive unit left in the tournament – and they had a tough group, with South Africa and Ivory Coast in behind them.
Benin are through on a weird technicality – that technicality being that they’re sh*te, but less sh*te than two other teams who couldn’t finish in the top two of their groups of four.
There isn’t a hidden gem who’s going to save them. There isn’t an up-and-coming star ready to rise from the ashes. Nope – this one will be open and shut, and when Benin go chasing the impossible, they might well get hit for three or four on the break in due course.
A £/€1 on these two selections returns £/€8.05 including stake.
Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change.