The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations betting starts this month in January, and the continental fiesta of top African football should thrill and delight once again. As usual, there will be an exodus from the Premier League of the top African players, such as Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure. The Africa Cup of Nations is held every two years, and this year we have the 28th edition of the tournament. This time around, the sixteen competing teams will be heading to joint co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in their bids for the top honours. There is still some confusion over whether or not Burkina Faso will be taking their place, as they have been challenged by Namibia, who allege that Burkina Faso field an ineligible player in the qualifying matches.
There are some surprising absentees from the tournament this time around. Initially Togo were banned from taking part the 2012 and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, because they pulled out of the 2010 event after their team bus was fatally attacked. However, Sepp Blatter mediated them back into the qualifying tournament for 2012, but they failed to get out of their group. Nigeria are also not in attendance after failing to qualify. Initially they weren’t going to be in the qualifying tournament anyway, because their own President, Goodluck Jonathan banned his country from international football for two years after a disappointing 2010 World Cup. That ban was lifted through by the Nigerian Government. South Africa are also another team who failed to make the continental finals. Like Nigeria, they could only manage one win during qualification, meaning that they missed out on the finals. Perhaps most surprisingly of all though, was Egypt’s failure to get to the finals. This is the big shock story really of qualification, because Egypt have won the last three Africa Cup of Nations, and their failure to appear at the finals leaves something of a big gap. Cameroon is another big African footballing nation who have failed to make it through to the finals this time around, firmly suggesting some shifts in power as the rest of the country catches up.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations Dates
Group Stage: January 21st to February 1st
Quarter Finals: February 4th and 5th
Semi Finals: February 8th
Third Place: February 11th
Final: February 12th
2012 Africa Cup of Nations Betting Favourites
So the favourites heading into 2012 Africa Cup of Nations betting are the powerhouses Ivory Coast and Ghana. The Ivory Coast have only managed to pick up the Africa Cup of Nations once in their history, way back in 1992, which is surprising given all their talent on offer. They reached the final in 2006 but lost on a penalty shoot out to Egypt, and finished fourth in the 2008 edition of the tournament. Didier Drogba, Salmon Kalou and Arsenal’s Gervinho will appear up front for the favourites, along with Newcastle’s Cheik Ismael Tiote, Man City’s Yaya and Kolo Toure, Leicester’s Souleymane Bamba and former Arsenal player Emmanuel Eboue. So familiar names will be taking the field for the Ivory Coast, who are expected to go on and win the event this time around.
Ghana meanwhile are taking a strong squad with them, and the Black Stars, who have won the tournament four times in their history, will be doing it without Chelsea star Michael Essien. The Black Stars have a new coach in place, with Goran Stevanovic guiding them through his first major tournament in charge, but they look to be a good young side, which should push hard for the title. They are not recognized as being quite as strong as the Ivory Coast, but Ghana always play pretty tight, neat football wherever they go. They lack the firepower and overall class of Ivory Coast, but are a very good, hard working team with an excellent Africa Cup of Nations pedigree which will make people sit up and notice them. Ghana are the second ranked team in the CAF, just ahead of Algeria and Egypt. With the set up of the draw as it is, the two big guns, the Ivory Coast and Ghana will likely be kept apart until the final of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. Name the Finalists Bet: Ghana/Ivory Coast 2/1 at BetFair.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations Betting Contenders
Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia are the main chasing contenders to the outright favourites of the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Morocco saw off the challenge of Algeria and the Central African Republic in their qualification group, and lost just one of their six matches. More impressively, Morocco look very good at the back, conceding just two goals and will therefore not doubt cause opposition problems. Morocco, ranked 12th in the CAF could spring an upset, but a more likely and genuine threat is going to come from the colourful Senegal. Senegal, ranked 6th in the CAF simply blazed through their qualification group, and are flying under the radar just a little bit in terms of taking the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. However, they have a pretty prolific strike force and like Morocco are very good at the back. Senegal held off Cameroon by five points in their qualifying group to qualify for the finals. They will be a great outside bet to take a look at. As for Tunisia, well we have seen them on the world stage often enough, and are usually stubborn and competitive. However, they only qualified for the finals as a runner up in their group, after failing to top Botswana in their qualification group. They should be there or thereabouts in the latter stages of the tournament though. A little bit of a dark horse, more of a threat than Morocco but probably not quite as much of one as Senegal is going to be.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations Outsiders
We have to be taking a look at Libya in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations betting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they went through the entire of 2011 unbeaten, and while they only made the finals as one of the best two runners up from the entire qualification process, they should have a lot to offer. They are tight at the back, not prolific up front, but will probably scrape their way through matches and make a real nuisance of themselves. If Burkina Faso make it, they have shown a great bit of grit as well. Like Libya, they would more than likely battle through drawn matches but still, if the Ivory Coast and Ghana slip up somewhere down the line, then the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations betting is going to be extremely wide open. A really long shot on Mali to go deep in the tournament isn’t a bad shout either. Big potential dark horses there.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations Group Betting
Equatorial Guinea: 9/1 at Bwin
Libya: 6/1 at William Hill
Senegal: 5/12 at Bwin
Zambia: 11/2 at BetFair
Prediction: Looks like a pretty even group. Would back Senegal to take top spot though, and will suggest that Libya will turn up and take second place.
Ivory Coast: 1/4 at Bwin
Sudan: 20/1 at 188Bet
Burkina Faso: 7/1 at William Hill
Angola: 7/1 at BetFair
Prediction: The Ivory Coast have let themselves down at times in this competition, can’t foresee any problems here. The race will be for second place. If Burkina Faso play, would back them, if not, plump for Angola.
Gabon: 7/2 at William Hill
Niger: 11/1 at Bwin
Morocco: 13/8 at William Hill
Tunisia: 8/5 at BetFair
Prediction: Probably the most competitive group and the expected route it will take will be a scrap between Morocco and Tunisia for the top spots. Wouldn’t fully discount Gabon messing things up, but would back the initial two, Tunisia being the stronger.
Ghana: 8/11 at William Hill
Botswana: 14/1 at Bwin
Mali: 2/1 at 188Bet
Guinea: 8/1 at Bwin
Prediction: If Ghana doesn’t win this group, then we will be in for a very interesting tournament. They should take top spot and would just back Mali to join them. There could be some great surprises to come from Mali.
CAF Rankings (World Rankings in Brackets)
1st Ivory Coast (16th)
2nd Ghana (29th)
3rd Algeria (30th)
4th Egypt (31st)
5th Nigeria (43rd)
6th Senegal (44th)
7th Cameroon (50th)
2012 Africa Cup Of Nations Outright Winner Odds
Ivory Coast: 7/4 at Stan James
Ghana: 5/1 at William Hill
Senegal: 7/1 at Totesport
Morocco: 9/1 at Blue Square
Tunisia: 10/1 at Bet365
Mali: 20/1 at Boylesports
Burkina Faso: 28/1 at Coral
Gabon: 33/1 at Bwin
Libya: 40/1 at SkyBet
Zambia: 50/1 at Bet365
Angola: 50/1 at VC Bet
Guinea: 80/1 at 888Sport
Sudan: 80/1 at Stan James
Equatorial Guinea: 125/1 at Stan James
Botswana: 125/1 at Paddy Power
Niger: 150/1 at Stan James
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