The 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on June 21st and many of the world’s top players will be hoping that they can guide their country to success.
Three-time winners Nigeria will be in with a shout, whilst Senegal will be looking to claim their first ever AFCON title. However, there are some more likely candidates to claim the trophy.
Hosts Egypt are the favorites but Cameroon will be looking to defend their crown. Ghana, Ivory Coast and Morocco all have very strong squads.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the tournament favorites.
Egypt are the most successful team in the history of the competition and come into the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as favorites. They have won the tournament seven times and will be hoping that they can add to their tally with another triumph this year.
In Mohamed Salah, they possess one of the world’s finest players. He helped Liverpool to win the Champions League last season and has been scoring goals for fun since his move to Anfield. Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny is another high-profile name in the Egyptian ranks.
Egypt won four a drew one of their five qualification matches last year. Their good form coupled with their home advantage makes them favorites to lift the trophy next month.
The Black Stars have won the Africa Cup of Nations four times but their last triumph came all the way back in 1982. They have fallen short in recent times and will be looking to bounce back as they boast a strong squad this time around.
Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey is perhaps their most elite player. The combative defensive midfielder is considered to be one of the best in the world in his position. Brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew and veteran striker Asamoah Gyan will also be players to keep an eye on.
Ghana will be desperate to put their recent poor tournament performances behind them and mount a serious challenge for the trophy this year.
The Elephants have won the competition twice; first in 1992 and then more recently in 2015. Whilst the days of their ‘golden generation’ may have passed, they still have one of the strongest squads of all the African countries.
Premier League stars Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) and Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) are two of the continent’s top players and winger Nicolas Pepe is in dazzling form after a terrific season with French club Lille.
The Ivory Coast are unbeaten in their last ten matches and will be eager to continue on from their impressive run of results at this year’s tournament.
Morocco’s only Africa Cup on Nations title came in 1976. They haven’t had much to shout about since then but they have been a country on the rise for some time now.
20-year-old Achraf Hakimi is one the Africa’s hottest prospects and has just spent a successful season on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid. Exciting forwards Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal are both capable of magic and can singlehandedly change a game.
Morocco had a disappointing 2018 World Cup; finishing bottom of their group. They have seemingly bounced back since then and went unbeaten throughout the 2018 AFCON qualifying games. If they continue with similar performances in this tournament, they could go all the way.
Although Cameroon don’t have the quality of some of the other teams in the competition, they are the reigning tournament champions and should not be disregarded.
The Indomitable Lions’ goalkeeper Andre Onana has just enjoyed a brilliant season with Ajax. He helped his club to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and will be full of confidence coming into the tournament.
The five-time Africa Cup of Nations winners have a tough group which will see them come up against Ghana in their second match. Despite their difficult start, you’d be foolish to bet against Cameroon winning the tournament again.