The 2019 African Cup of Nations will kickoff in Egypt in 11 days time, www.kick442.com will give you an in-depth analysis of all the six groups and the 24 teams that constitute them on a daily basis while building up to the tournament. We continue today with an overview of Group D.
Group D is made up of 1976 winners Morocco, 1992 and 2015 champions Côte D’Ivoire, 1996 winners South Africa and Namibia.
How they Qualified:
Morocco qualified as Group B winners with 11 points the same like second placed Cameroon but with a better goal difference. Malawi were third in the Group with five points just like fourth placed Comoros Islands.
Morocco scored eight goals and conceded three.
21 goals were scored in the Group in 12 matches with Comoros forward El Fardou Ben Nabouhane emerging as the Group’s top scorer with 4 goals.
The highest scoring Moroccan was Hakim Ziyech with 3 goals.
They qualified for the competition on November 17, 2018.
Côte d’Ivoire qualified as runners-up of Group H with with 11 points, a point behind Group winners Guinea and five points more than third placed Central African Republic and nine more than bottom placed Rwanda.
The Ivorians scored 12 goals and conceded 5.
29 goals were scored in the Group with Rwanda’s Jacques Tuyisenge scoring three goals to finish as the top scorer of the Group. Côte d’Ivoire’s Eric Betrand Bailly, Maxwel Cornet, Seydou Doumbia and Jonathan Kodjia all scored two goals each.
They qualified for the tournament on November 18, 2018.
South Africa were second from Group E, behind Nigeria. The South Africans had 12 points while Nigeria won the group with 13. Libya finished third with 7 points while Seychelles managed just a point.
South Africa scored 11 goals and conceded 2.
44 goals were scored in the 12 matches of the high scoring Group with Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo scoring 7. The highest scoring South African was Percy Tau with four goals.
They grabbed their ticket for the tournament on March 24, 2019.
Namibia were Group K runners-up with 8 points, a point less than Group winners Guinea-Bissau. Mozambique also on 8 points finished third while 2012 Champions Zambia were a disappointing fourth with 7 points.
Namibia scored five goals and conceded seven in a group that registered 28 goals in total in 12 matches. Guinea-Bissau’s Frederic Mendy was the Group’s top scorer with three goals. The highest scoring Namibian was Peter Shalulile with two goals to his name.
The sealed their qualification on March 23, 2019.
Morocco will be making their 17th appearance in the competition and lifted the trophy in 1976 in Ethiopia when they defeated Guinea in the final.
Côte d’Ivoire will be playing the African Cup of Nations for a 23rd time, only Egypt with 24 have made more appearances in the competition amongst the 24 teams to take part in the tournament. They won the competition in 1992 in Senegal beating Ghana in the final and 2015 in Equatorial Guinea beating Ghana again in the final.
South Africa will be making their 10th appearance in the competition and hosted and won the cup in 1996.
Namibia will be playing the Afcon for a third time after they played the 1998 and 2008 tournaments. They have never progressed past the group stage.
Herve Renard ( Morocco)
50 year old Herve Renard was born on September 30, 1968 in Aix-les- Bains in France.
As a former defender he played 215 games for AS Cannes, Stade Vallauris and SC Draguignan.
He began his coaching career in 1999. In club football, he has coached SC Draguignan, Cambridge United, Song Da Nam Dinh, AS Cherbourg, USM Alger, Sochaux and Lille.
He also has a vast experienced coaching African national teams, haven been coach of Zambia in two spells, Angola and Côte d’Ivoire before taken up the Moroccan challenge in February 2016.
Renard is the first coach to win the Afcon trophy as head coach with two different countries. He led Zambia to victory in 2012 then Côte d’Ivoire in 2015.
He also qualified Morocco for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, their first after France 1998.
Ibrahim Kamara ( Côte d’Ivoire)
53 year old Ibrahim Kamara has worked his way to the top Ivorian coaching job in a period of five years.
He was the coach of the Ivorian U-17 National team from 2013-2014, then the U-20s from 2014-2018, while also managing the U-23s from 2015. He was the coach of the Ivorian CHAN team in 2018 which finished bottom of Group B with just a single point.
In July 2018 he was given the top tough job by the Ivorian Football Association.
Stuart William Baxter ( South Africa)
Stuart Baxter was born on August 16, 1953 in Wolverhampton England.
The 65 year old former midfielder played for 9 clubs between 1973 and 1984. His father Bill Baxter was also a professional footballer and played notably for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa.
He began his playing career with Preston North End before moving to Morecambe, Dundee United, Stockport County, South Melbourne FC, Landskrona BolS, Helsingborgs IF, then South Melbourne FC again, San Diego Sockers and Ōrebro SK.
He is in his second spell as national team coach of South Africa. He previously in charge of the team in 20004-2005.
The much traveled coach began his coaching career in Sweden with the last club he played for, Ōrebro SK in 1985. A year later he moved to Norway as coach of IF Skarp before going to Portugal as coach of Vitoria Setubal. His next destination was Japan where he coached Sanfrecce Hiroshima then Vissel Kobe. He returned to Sweden in 1998 as head coach of AIK for two years before going again to Norway to take over at Lyn Oslo. In 2002 he was appointed as coach of England U-19 national team and two years later his first spell with Bafana Bafana. After a year with Bafana Bafana he returned to Vissel Kobe then to Helsingborgs IF. He was appointed coach of the Finland national team in 2008-2010. In 2012 South African giants Kaizer Chiefs appointed him as coach a position he held until 2015 when he moved to Turkey to coach Gençlerbirligi. He returned to South Africa in 2016 as coach of SuperSports United and on May 4, 2017 he was appointed as coach of the South African National team again to replace Epraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba who had been shown the door in December 2016.
He has won the South African Premier League twice with Kaizer Chiefs, one Nedbank Cup with them and two others with SuperSports United. He also led Chiefs to an MTN Super 8 title in 2014. He was Japanese Champion with Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 1994.
Ricardo Giovanni Mannetti ( Namibia)
Born on April 24, 1975 in Windhoek Namibia, 44 year old former midfielder Ricardo Mannetti who played for the Namibian national team 55 times is the head coach of the Brave Warriors.
The former midfielder played for Civics FC, Santos Cape Town, Avondale Athletico and Bush Bucks.
As coach, he began with Civics FC in 2007 then moved to Black Africa FC in the Namibian league in 2010. He then took charge of Namibia’s U-20s in 2011.
Mannetti who played in the 1998 African Cup of Nations with Namibia then took charge of the senior national team in 2013 and resigned in June 2015 after leading them to their first national trophy in the COSAFA Cup. He was reappointed in September 2015 after making up with the Namibian Football Association.
26 year old Ajax of Amsterdam dazzling winger Hakim Ziyech is Morocco’s star man.
The winger has 23 caps with 12 goals for his country. His trickery and ability to go pass his opponents will determine how long Morocco stays in Egypt. 22 year old Leganes striker Youssef El-Nesyri will be another key player for Herve Renard’s team. Borussia Dortmund defender Achraf Hakimi, Galatasaray play maker Younes Belhanda and Hebei China Fortune forward Ayoub El Kaabi are players to look out for in this Moroccan team.
Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮
Lille’s Nicolas Pepe will be the man to lead the line for the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire. With 22 goals and 12 assists in the French league for runners-up Lille, if Pepe brings that form to Egypt Côte d’Ivoire will be difficult to stop. The 24 year old winger is one of the most wanted players among Europe’s elite clubs. Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet, Max Grandel from Toulouse, Girona’s Seydou Doumbia and Jonathan Adjo Kodjia of Aston Villa will be other key players.
South Africa 🇿🇦
South Africa will turn to Union Saint-Gilloise 25 year old forward Percy Tau for goals.
Strasbourg’s Lebogang Mothiba will be another source of goals. Captain and Centre back Thulani Tyson Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits will lead by example. Another key player will be Vitesse midfielder Thulani Serero.
26 year old Highlands Park FC forward Peter Shalulile will be a key man for Ricardo Mannetti’s team. Defender Denzil Hoaseb also of Highlands Park FC, African Stars midfielder Ronald Ketjijere, midfielder Hotto Kavenji from Bidvest Wits, forward Benson Shilongo from Ismaily SC in Egypt and goalkeeper Virgil Vries from Maritzburg United in South Africa will make up the spine of the team.
In a Group with three previous winners and a difficult to beat underdog, it’s hard to pick out the potential group winners. But the quality of players on the books of the different teams gives Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire a slight advantage. South Africans might rightfully openly challenge this statement while Namibians will quietly say we’ll defend ourselves on the pitch. It’s a tough call but on paper the Atlas Lions and Elephants should dominate the Bafana Bafana and Brave Warriors.