2017 African Cup Of Nation (AFCON) will kick off from Saturday January 14 to February 5 in Gabon. And all Africa's big teams will be present to strug it out, except for Nigeria and South Africa. So with these big names out, which Country is favorite to win in Gabon?
“Before a tournament, every country becomes a favorite." Coach Ephraim 'Shake' Mashaba said. "Looking at Ghana’s previous performance in 2015 and how the team qualified for the 2017 edition,with such quality players and coaching crew, I think the Black Stars stand a real chance to win their sixth Afcon trophy in Gabon."
The NFF President Amaju Pinnick almost beat his chest to say in an interview with Channels TV... that Super Eagles of Nigeria would have won it, had the team qualify for the tournament. Funny really, for a country that couldn't qualify to now be favorite to win the trophy, that's a great paradox, perhaps, his own wishful thinking.
Well, let's get back to the real contenders...
On paper, Algeria is arguably the favorite team, going by FIFA rankings and the current form as well as quality of the players in the team now. Riyad Mahrez favored to win African footballer of the year, alongside with fellow norminee Islam Salmani and Yacine BrahaimBrahimi can rake down any team in Africa on a good day.
But Algeria's recent struggle at the World cup qualifiers... Drew at home to Cameroon and lost 3 - 1 away to Nigeria... caste a doubt if the Desert foxes could hold their own in Gabon.
Cote d'Ivoire, the defending champion remain another real favorite, even without former captain Yaya Toure and winning coach Rehard. But the likes of Wilfred Bony, Gervinho... will be on hand to get the job done.
Of course, you can't rule out Egypt and Cameroon when it comes to African football. Egypt had won Afcon trophy eight good times, far beyond Ghana's five times win and Cameroon four trophies.
One of the ''dark horses' that may spring a surprise is the host country Gabon. If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get to his element firing from all cylinders and the crowd carrying the team on their shoulders, then you got to watch out for a lot of surprises.
Africa Cup of Nations Fixtures
Date Time Match
14.01. 17:00 Gabon Vs Guinea Bissau
14.01. 20:00 Burkina Faso Vs Cameroon
15.01. 17:00 Algeria Vs Zimbabwe
15.01. 20:00 Tunisia Vs Senegal*
16.01. 17:00 Ivory Coast Vs Togo
16.01. 20:00 D.R. Congo Vs Morocco
17.01. 17:00 Ghana Vs Uganda
17.01. 20:00 Mali Vs Egypt*
18.01. 17:00 Gabon Vs Burkina Faso
18.01. 20:00 Cameroon Vs Guinea Bissau
19.01. 17:00 Algeria Vs Tunisia*
19.01. 20:00 Senegal Vs Zimbabwe
20.01. 17:00 Ivory Coast Vs D.R. Congo*
20.01. 20:00 Morocco Vs Togo
21.01. 17:00 Ghana Vs Mali*
21.01. 20:00 Egypt Vs Uganda
22.01. 20:00 Cameroon Vs Gabon*
22.01. 20:00 Guine Bissau Vs Burkina Faso
23.01. 20:00 Senegal Vs Algeria*
23.01. 20:00 Zimbabwe Vs Tunisia
24.01. 20:00 Morocco Vs Ivory Coast*
24.01. 20:00 Togo Vs D.R. Congo
25.01. 20:00 Egypt Vs Ghana*
25.01. 20:00 Uganda Vs Mali