The 2019 AFCON continues today at 17:00 CAT with the final round of fixtures in the group stage in Groups E and F.
Benin vs Cameroon (Ismailia Stadium, 17:00 CAT)
With a win and a draw in their opening two fixtures, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be looking to beat Benin and top Group F.
Cameroon beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in their first game and played to a 0-0 draw with Ghana in their second game. Though they are almost sure of a place in the next round, to be on the safe side they’ll need a positive result against Benin.
With a pair of draws in their opening two fixtures, the Squirrels of Benin come into this game with a realistic chance to progress to the next round should they pull off a first ever win in the AFCON.
Only Mozambique (12) have appeared in more AFCON games without winning than Benin (11 – D3, L8), though the Squirrels are still unbeaten in this year’s competition with a 2-2 against Ghana and a 0-0 draw against Guinea-Bissau.
Benin forward Steve Mounie has not scored yet in the tournament but he cannot be blamed for not trying. He has had eight shots in the tournament, only Senegal forward Mbaye Niang with nine has had more without scoring amongst all the strikers present in Egypt.
Defending champions Cameroon are unbeaten in their last eight games in the AFCON (W4, D4), their best run since February 2000 – February 2004 (12), when they won the competition twice in the process (2000 and 2002).
They have kept five clean sheets in their last six games in the AFCON. The last time they conceded more than a goal in the tournament was in the 2010 competition in a 3-1 quarter finals loss to Egypt.
In their previous five meetings in all competitions, Cameroon has won all five.
The Indomitable Lions are expected to win this game but Benin will not go down without a fight.
Players to Watch
Steve Michel Mounié (Benin)
Position: Forward Club: Huddlesfield Town Age: 24
He is yet to open his goals account in this tournament, but Steve Mounie should be the player Cameroon should worry about the most from the Beninese side. If he gets the right service, then the Cameroon back line have got a game on their hands.
Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon)
Position: Midfielder Club: Fulham FC Age: 23
He is the heart beat of the Indomitable Lions and all good things will come through him. He was voted the man of the match in Cameroon’s 2-0 against Guinea- Bissau. He is not only involved in breaking the opposition’s play but provide a real drive going forward from midfield. He will be Cameroon’s players to watch in this game.
Guinea- Bissau vs Ghana (Suez Stadium, 17:00 CAT)
The Black Stars of Ghana are at the verge of failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2008. A win against Guinea-Bissau in Suez today will spare them the embarrassment.
It’s a must win game for the four time champions who were held to a surprise 2-2 draw by Benin in their opening fixture before drawing 0-0 against Cameroon in an improved performance.
Ghana goes into this game without 24 year old Hoffenheim defender Kazim Adams who is suspended, but the experienced John Boye is back to contest for a starting place after his red card against Benin.
This will the first meeting between these two teams in the AFCON and the first meeting ever between them in all competitions.
The Black Stars of Ghana are winless in their last four games in the AFCON (D2, L2), their worst run since January 2000 to January 2002 (also four).
They have also failed to score in four of their last six Africa Cup of Nations games, as many as in their previous 26.
Guinea- Bissau are one of four teams who failed to score a goal in the first two match days of the 2019 tournament. The other three were (DR Congo, Burundi and Namibia).
Guinea- Bissau could still qualify as one of the four best third placed teams with a maiden AFCON win against Ghana.
Ghana are better equipped to win this game, but just like Madagascar against Nigeria, it will be wrong to write off a surprise.
Players to Watch
Jorge Braíma Candé Nogueira ‘Bura’ (Guinea-Bissau)
Position: Midfielder Club: CD Ave Age: 23
He has made more tackles (six) and interceptions (four), that is, he won back possession (12 times), against Benin. He has to be at his best again against Ghana if the Djurtus have to push for a win.
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
Position: Forward Club: Kayserispor Age: 33
Ghana’s most capped player of all times and their all times leading goal scorer Asamoah Gyan has had a peripheral role so far in their AFCON campaign, coming on as a late substitute against Cameroon. If he is played from the start against Guinea-Bissau then he might see it as a golden opportunity to set the records straight and remind Africa of the deadly goal poacher he has been over the years.
Angola vs Mali (Ismailia Stadium, 20:00 CAT)
The Eagles of Mali failed to match their flamboyant 4-1 winning start against Mauritania after settling for a 1-1 with Tunisia in their second fixture.
After drawing 1-1 with Tunisia in their opening game, Angola were favourites to beat debutants Mauritania, but coach Srdan Vasiljevic’s team were pinned down to another draw.
Mali tops the very open group with 4 points, while Tunisia and Angola both have 2 points each; even Mauritania with a point goes into today’s game with a chance to go through to the next round from Group E.
Angola are winless in their last seven games in the AFCON, their longest drought since January 1996- January 2006 in their first eight encounters in the competition.
Six of Mali’s last eight games in the AFCON have ended in draws.
The Eagles of Mali have succeeded to keep a clean sheet only in one of their last 13 AFCON games
In their previous four meetings in all competitions, they have won a game each with two draws
2008 and 2010 quarter finalists Angola has the AFCON experience, but does Mali. Based on what both teams have shown this far in the competition, Mali has a slight advantage.
Players to Watch
Wilson Bruno Naval da Costa Eduardo (Angola)
Position: Forward Club: SC Braga Age: 28
He is yet to live up the huge expectations placed on him after a good season with his Portuguese club SC Braga that saw his register 12 goals. He was even dropped to the bench against Mauritania, if given a chance today he might not want to disappoint again.
Moussa Marega (Mali)
Position: Forward Club: FC Porto Age: 28
He was the man of the match in Mali’s draw against Tunisia. He has already had his name on the score sheet in the tournament, but Marega will certainly want to do more and this could a perfect opportunity for him to do so.
Mauritania vs Tunisia (Suez Stadium, 20:00 CAT)
The Chinguetti Lions of Mauritania will like to build from their 0-0 draw with Angola and push one of the pre-tournament favourites, Tunisia out of the competition prematurely with a win that will leave them in contention for a place in the round of 16.
2004 champions Tunisia who are ranked 25th in the world, and second in Africa only behind Senegal have slumped to two surprising draws against Mali but more especially against Angola in the opening game.
Tunisia’s experienced coach Alain Giress has been hugely criticized for his choice of players and tactics. His biggest worry will be with his goalkeepers. His first goalkeeper Farouk Ben Moustapha was dropped to the bench after his costly error gifted Angola an equalizer in their first game. His replacement Mouez Hacen was also at fault in Mali’s equalizer in their second game.
Giress has publicly admitted that his goalkeepers are a serious problem for the Carthage Eagles who are making their 14th consecutive appearance in the competition.
Tunisia have lost only one of their last nine games in the AFCON at the group stage.
They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 games in the AFCON, the last time they did so against Algeria in the 2013 tournament
Mauritania had one shot on target in their first two outings, fewer than any other team in the tournament.
This is going to be the 12th competitive fixture between the two sides with Tunisia out rightly dominating the contest with nine wins, the other two games ended in draws.
Tunisia are expected to win this game and finally get themselves up and running in the competition.
Players to Watch
Adama Ba (Mauritania)
Position: Midfielder Club: Giresunspor Age: 25
With star striker Ismael Diakhite misfiring so far, Mauritanian hopes will be shifted to midfielder Adama Ba who will be the man to watch. He has been able to get into some great goal scoring positions especially against Angola his finishing let him down.
Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia)
Position: Forward Club: Saint Etienne Age: 28
With 16 goals in 46 caps for Tunisia Wahbi Khazri is their most lethal weapon going forward. He has scored two of Tunisia’s last three AFCON goals. Khazri has been one of the few satisfactory points in a Tunisian team that has looked a mere shadow of itself. He will be their main man again in this game.