2019 African Cup of Nations – Group B Preview
June 21, 2019
Group B – Winner Odds
Nigeria – 27/4 with SportNation
Guinea – 35/1 with Unibet
Angola – 100/1 with Betfair
Madagascar – 250/1 with Ladbrokes
Group B features one true dark horse and a hipster’s choice of many — Guinea. They were decidedly unremarkable in 2015, drawing their way out of the utterly underwhelming “group of death” with Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Cameroon, and missed out on the continental showpiece in 2017, but they have quietly assembled one of the most impressive collections of young central midfielders not just in Africa, but arguably in the whole world. Liverpool’s Naby Keita (24) is obviously leading the way, but Mady Camara (22) and Amadou Diawara (21) potentially complete a well-rounded midfield with a considerable potential to dominate. Guinea as a whole could get it done; they qualified unbeaten and in Paul Put, they boast a coach who knows a thing or two how to succeed with an under-the-radar team (silver with Burkina Faso in 2013). Only one trouble may very easily hold them back — they need to find a scorer, and find one quick.
Then there’s, of course, Nigeria — the prototypical “all or nothing” kind of a team. They won the 2013 AFCON and then somehow didn’t qualify for the next two editions. Now they are back with an incredibly young team, consisting of 11 members under 23 years of age, and seem ready to take on Africa again. They had the top scorer in the qualifiers (Odion Ighalo with 7 goals), boast some of the fastest wingers on the continent, who are now backed up by the talented 20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze, and benefit from the very best version of Alex Iwobi (at no. 10) Arsenal fans sadly do not get to enjoy nearly often enough.
Burundi are a potential surprise package and one team that could seize the opportunity of advancing from the third spot. They boast some serious skill up front, with Cédric Amissi and second-best scorer in the qualifiers Fiston Abdul-Razak, and could very well catch especially Nigeria off guard on the break.
Madagascar are an interesting story, and they were actually the first side to qualify, but will most likely just make up the numbers here. Their starting XI will be full of veterans in their thirties and/or Frenchmen brought into the fold by their compatriot Nicolas Dupuis, so they’re here to mostly enjoy themselves and are clearly not set up for sustained success. On the other hand, let’s face it, the Malagasy internationals probably still have a better chance at a draw with Nigeria or Guinea than hearing anyone pronounce their last names correctly and without any stuttering.
Here are the bookmakers offering the best 2019 African Cup of Nations betting odds
Author: Tomáš Daníček
Tomas is a journalist who's ruthlessly been covering AFCON for Czech readers since 2012, but mostly a blogger with passion for African and Asian football which he often channels for everyone to see over at @Sandal4Goalpost and @shootlikeodil