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Jan. 9, 2022

MIKIA KALATI

2 min read

Lions of Teranga have best team on paper

Lions of Teranga have best team on paper

The Lions of Teranga celebrate victory

Story highlights

  • North Africa countries will always be a threat both at club and national teams’ levels
  • Senegal were finalists in the last edition of the tournament in Egypt

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THE continental showpiece, the Africa Cup of Nations will roar into life on Sunday in Olembe, as the hosts Cameroon take on Burkina Faso in the opening match of the tournament.

Aliou Cisse’s Senegal are for many people the favourites to finally get it right and win their first Afcon title.  They are the best ranked team in the continent and have the best squad on paper for me.

The Lions of Teranga were finalists in the last edition of the tournament in Egypt, where they lost 1-0 to Algeria and that will surely still be fresh in their minds. I feel like their downfall in that match was too much dependency on individuals, especially their star players while the Foxes were more about teamwork.

The North Africa countries will always be a threat. They have been dominating continental football forever at both club and national teams’ levels. Egypt is the most successful in the history of the tournament, with seven titles while Algeria head into the tournament as the defending champions. Morocco and Tunisia can never be counted out in the race for that title.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been blowing hot and cold in the last two years playing in both the Afcon and World Cup qualifiers, which led to the NFF finally pulling the plug on the tenure of Gernot Rohr as their coach, just a month before the tournament. But the Nigerians can never be underestimated despite missing several of their key players at the tournament in Cameroon.

The home ground advantage and recent election of legendary Samuel Eto’o as the new President of the Cameroon FA could be a motivating factor for the Indomitable Lions to put an extra effort on home soil. They are the second most successful country after Egypt with five Afcon titles and their last being in 2017 under Hugo Broos.

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The Black Stars of Ghana haven’t been convincing for me in recent years, but just like the other powerhouses of the continent, they cannot be counted out, especially when they have Milovan Rajaven back in charge of the team.

He led the Black Stars to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa a little over a decade ago and that was for me the difference in the West African country winning the recent 2022 World Cup qualifying spot ahead of South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.

As always, I will be rooting for our COSAFA representatives in the Flames of Malawi and the Warriors of Zimbabwe, who will be representing the Southern African region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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