2019 African Cup of Nations – Group F Preview
June 21, 2019
Group F – Winner Odds
Ghana – 11/1 with Unibet
Cameroon – 14/1 with Ladbrokes
Benin – 200/1 with Betfair
Guinea-Bissau – 200/1 with BoyleSports
And so we are arriving to the defending champions of Cameroon. It still sounds weird. Maybe even weirder now, in fact, given what has gone on in Cameroon since that 2017 triumph. Clarence Seedorf was hardly an inspiring coaching appointment in the first place, and he’s been making some seriously odd decisions from the onset. He had initially dropped the reigning MVP Christian Bassogog and regular starter Benjamin Moukandjo purely on the grounds of them playing in China (his words), and for this tournament squad he omitted attackers like Paul-Georges Ntep or Jean-Pierre Nsamé for an out-of-form Jacques Zoua. Vincent Aboubakar, the gold-clinching scorer from 2017, is missing out with a knee injury.
It’s simply a mess, and Cameroon may end up rivaling 2017 Côte d’Ivoire for the title of the most disappointing defending champion in recent memory. But then again, they face Ghana in their group, a forever pedestrian team with similar selection issues, so it may not be that bad simply thanks to the competition. Kwesi Appiah, the self-proclaimed opponent of tactics, returned to the helm in April 2017 and has yet to figure out his own talent pool, having so far used around 60 players. His provisional squad for this tournament, more than two years from his re-appointment, still featured seven uncapped players.
A lot of talent, a lot of questionable decision-making and notable omissions, a lot of doubts. Moreover, Ghana are often so direct with no organisation on the pitch that they’ll inevitably struggle to break down most teams. They twice had real trouble figuring out Kenya, which really shouldn’t be the case. But then again, Ghana have underwhelmed for years now, and still managed to get away with a total of 10 victories at the last three editions, so go ahead and bank on another failed semi-final appearance. It’s happening.
Given the state of the two obvious favourites, this group suddenly becomes rather tricky to predict. Benin finished the qualifiers just one point below Algeria and should make for one of the fiercest counter-attacking outfits at this tournament. Their games are usually a two-way highway, with relentless tempo making for unpredictable affairs that just very often don’t go the favourites way at previous AFCONs. For that matter, Michel Dussuyer has already taken one such team (2015 Guinea) to quarter-finals, and who could forget the last group game with everything on the line where his players put all of their four shots on target and knocked out Mali with a 1:1 draw. This could well be something of a re-run, you’d better be prepared for it.
Finally, Guinea-Bissau, with the same coach but still unpredictable (this is their second AFCON in two years, yet their squad still comprises 14 players with less than 10 international caps) – a bit chaotic in defence, but often incredibly lethal on attack, with some of the trickiest, most effective dribblers on the continent in the attacking trio of Piqueti, Zezinho and Toni Silva who’ve played virtually all of their country’s recent games together – beware. This, for all I can see, is headed towards more than just a point they snatched back in 2017. Even back then, after all, they spent majority of their game vs Cameroon in the lead.
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