The 2019 African Cup of Nations will kick off in Egypt in 15 days time, www.kick442.com will give you an in-depth analysis of all the six groups and the 24 teams that constitute the groups on a daily basis while building up to the tournament. We continue today with an overview of Group B.
Group B is made up of three times winners Nigeria, Guinea and debutants Madagascar and Burundi.
How they Qualified:
Nigeria qualified as group winners of Group E with 13 points ahead of South Africa with 12 points, Libya with 7points and Seychelles with 1 point. They won four games, drew one and lost one, scoring 14 goals and conceding 6.
44 goals were scored in the group in 12 matches.
Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo was the top scorer in the Group with 7 goals to his name.
They booked their place for the competition on November 17, 2018.
Guinea Conakry were Group H winners with 12 points ahead of Côte D’Ivoire with 11 points, Central African Republic with 6 points and Rwanda with 2 points.
They scored 8 goals and conceded 4.
There were 29 goals scored in the group in 12 matches with Rwanda’s Jacques Tuyisenge finishing as the group’s top scorer with three goals. The highest scoring Guinean was Bordeaux’s Francois Kamano with three goals.
They sealed their place in the competition on November 18, 2018.
Madagascar qualified as Group A runners-up with 10 points, behind Senegal with 16 points and ahead of Equatorial Guinea with 6 points and Sudan with 3 points.
They won three games, drew one and lost two, scoring 8 goals and conceding 8.
A total of 30 goals were scored in all the 12 matches played in the group with Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue, Madagascar’s Faneva Ima Andriatsima and Senegal’s Mbaye Niang finishing as top scorers with three goals each.
They qualified for the tournament on October 16, 2018.
Burundi were runners-up in Group C of the qualifiers.
They earned 10 points, 4 points lesser than Group winners Mali and 2 more than third placed Gabon. Bottom of the Group was South Sudan with no point to their credit. Burundi won two games, and drew four, scoring 11 goals and conceding 5.
30 goals were scored in all 12 games of the group with Burundi’s Fiston Abdul Razak finishing as top scorer with 6 goals.
Nigeria will be making their 18th appearance in the 32nd edition of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Their last appearance in the competition was in 2013 when they lifted the trophy for a third time haven previously won it in 1980 and 1994.
Guinea will be participating in the competition for the 12th time.
The last time they participated in the competition was in 2015. Their best performance ever was a runners-up position in the 1976 edition which took place in Ethiopia and was won by the Atlas Lions of Morocco.
Madagascar and Burundi will be appearing in the competition for the first time.
Both nations will try to leave a mark in their maiden appearance in the tournament.
Gernot Rohr ( Nigeria 🇳🇬)
Nigeria’s 65 year old German coach was born on June 28, 1953 in Mannheim in Germany.
The former defender played 441 games as a professional footballer scoring 15 goals. He played for four clubs ( Bayern Munich, Waldhof Mannheim Kicker Offenbach and Girondin Bordeaux). He played the most for Bordeaux where he made 352 appearances.
Rohr began his coaching career in 1990 with Bordeaux where he stayed until 1996 and led them that year to the finals of the 1996 UEFA Cup which they lost over two legs to Bayern Munich with players like Zinidine Zidane, Christophe Dugary and Bixente Lizarazu. He went on to manage Creteil, Nice, Young Boys of Bernes, Ajaccio, Etoile du Sahel and Nantes before taking up national team jobs with Gabon, Niger, Burkina Faso and then Nigeria when he was appointed on August 8, 2016. He led the Super Eagles to the 2018 World Cup in Russsia. He has led them in 35 games, winning 21, drawn 8 and lost 6.
He has a good mastery of African football which will be a big advantage for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Paul Put (Guinea )
Guinea’s Belgian coach Paul Put was born on May 26, 1956 in Merksem in Belgium.
In club football he has managed Lokeren, Lierse, Mouscron, USM Alger and Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard. He was the coach of the Gambian national team from 2008- 2011 before moving to take over the national team of Burkina Faso from 2012- 2015. When he left Burkina Faso he took over the Jordanian national team which he managed only for one year and resigned following a two weeks suspension by the Jordan Football Association.
He is also remembered for a three years ban by the Royal Belgian Football Association for his alleged involvement in the Ye Zheyun match fixing scandal (a Chinese businessman who was accused of being involved in a Belgian Football corruption and betting scandal in 2005).
He has also managed the Kenyan National team in 2017-2018.
In March 2018 he was appointed as manager of the Guinean national team.
Nicolas Dupuis ( Madagascar)
Born in Moulins France on January 6, 1968, 51 years old former FC Souvigny, AS Yzeure Courtney-d’Auvergne, US Beaumont and SA Thiers full back in the amateur level was appointed manager of the Madagascar national team in March 2017 and he has employed his experience as coach of AS Yzeure from 1996-2011 and 2012- 2017 to help Madagascar to a first ever Afcon qualification.
He doubles as the Technical Director of French amateur club FC Fleury.
Alain Olivier Niyungeko ( Burundi)
Burundi’s miracle worker is 48 years old Alain Olivier Niyungeko.
The former coach of Lydia Ludic and Flambeau de L’Est was appointed manager of the Swallows of Burundi in 2016 to replace Ahcene Aït-Abdelmalek.
His biggest coaching achievement apart from leading Burundi to a first Afcon qualification was in the 2012-2013 season when he led Flambeau de L’Est to their first Burundi Premier League title just three years after the club was created.
The Super Eagles will greatly rely on the keen eye for goal of their 29 year old Shanghai Shenhua striker Odion Jude Igalo.
He is in red hot form with his Chinese Super League team. He was their leading goal scorer in the qualifiers with 7 goals.
Other key players will be captain John Obi Mikel of Middlesbrough, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and the popular ‘Oyibo wall’, that is the central defense pair of William Trust-Ekong and Leon Balogun. Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu, Villarreal’s Samuel Chukweze, Fenerbace’s Victor Moses and Galatasaray’s Henry Onyekuru are also expected to play vital roles.
Their qualifiers top scorer Francois Kamano from Bordeaux will lead the line in Egypt. But the heart bit of the team is their captain and talisman 24 year old Naby Laye Keita from Liverpool.
He missed the UEFA champions league final due to injury but the entire nation will be sweating for his fitness. Fulham’s Ibrahima Cisse, Hatayspors’s Abdoulaye Sadio Diallo, Auxerre’s Mohammed Lamine Yattara, Maccabi Haifa’s Seydouba Soumah and Gimnastic’s Jose Kante Martinez will be crucial for a very ambitious Sylly National of Guinea.
Madagascar will turn to their 35 year old striker Faneva Imà Andriantsima who was their top scorer in the qualifiers with three goals for more goals in Egypt.
The Clermont striker will be helped in that task by Al-Adalh FC forward Charles Carols Andriamatsinoro who scored twice in the qualifiers. 26 year old Winger Njiva Tsilavina Martin from Samut Sakhon will also be a goal threat. The team will benefit immensely from the experience of Olympique Lyonnais defender Jeremy Morel.
Burundi’s star man is Saido Berahino who plays for Stoke City in England.
But their most potent striker is their qualifiers top scorer Fiston Abdul Razak. The 25 year old JS Kabylie striker scored six goals in the qualifiers.
26 year old midfielder Cédric Amissi from Al-Taawoun FC with three goals in the qualifiers is another key player. Another player to watch out for is LLB Academic FC’s midfielder Gaël Duhayindavyi.
Nigeria and Guinea are firm favorites to through as group winner and runners in this group but there is no run for complacency otherwise these debutants might surprise them.