Club managers across Europe must dread the words ‘Africa Cup Of Nations‘. The tournament takes away some of the world’s best players every two years (or in this year’s case, only one) for a month and leaves selection headaches behind. Of course, it’s only right that Africa has its own continental championship but the logistics for the tournament are much more demanding and you never get the same level of support as at the European Championships or the Copa America purely because it’s that much more difficult, expensive and, in some cases, dangerous, to cross borders in Africa as elsewhere in the world.
That said, this year’s tournament is being staged in South Africa, which has the infrastructure to move mass numbers from one venue to another having already staged a World Cup. They also hosted the Africa Cup Of Nations in 1996, which was the only time the Bafana Bafana managed to lift the trophy. Gordon Igesund took over the coaching role of the national side last year but hasn’t inherited the greatest of squads and the general 9/1 about another ‘home’ win looks short enough, though they should qualify easily for the last eight. But I’m not going to concentrate on the outright betting as that’s been covered elsewhere on www.online-betting.me.uk. Instead, let’s take a look at the group betting.
One set of odds stands out and that’s the general 5/1 about Algeria in Group D against strong favourites the Ivory Coast. Vahid Halilhodzic‘s team are only ranked third in their section but have a proud record in the tournament having reached the quarter-finals on four of the last six occasions. They’ve only won the competition once, in 1990, but arrive in South Africa this year with a full compliment of seasoned pros having qualified with ease. They’ve also unearthed a couple of goalscorers in El Arbi Hillel Soudani and Islam Slimani, who is beginning to attract interest from Europe, and could be this year’s surprise packages.
In Group C, holders Zambia may be a bit of value to upset Nigeria at the general 6/4. You never quite know what you are going to get with the Super Eagles, who imploded in spectacular fashion when the World Cup was staged in South Africa three years ago. Chelsea‘s Victor Moses has recently been added to their squad but they don’t look the force of past years whereas Zambia have come together as a group over the last 18 months.