We already have two big football tournaments underway in the Copa America in Brazil and the European U21 Championship, which started in Italy at the weekend, but there is another major tournament taking place in Egypt which gets underway next weekend, the African Cup of Nations, the continent’s equivalent of the Copa America and the European Championships.

The tournament has been moved from its traditional place in the calendar in December, to the end of the season period to fit in more with the FIFA world football calendar, which of course does mean somewhat warmer temperatures for the players to endure. In this article, we’ll preview the tournament and give you some idea on where you can watch the games, as well as who we think will win each group and the tournament itself.

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African Cup of Nations

The African Cup of Nations is held every two years and this year features a total of 24 teams that have qualified for the tournament finals, which will take place in Egypt, who stepped in to host the tournament when the original hosts, Cameroon, were stripped of the honour in November 2018.

Six stadia, across four cities in Egypt will host the event including games in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and Suez. The final will be held at the Cairo International Stadium, which can hold 74,100 spectators.

The 24 teams have been drawn into the following six groups

Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F
Egypt Nigeria Senegal Morocco Tunisia Cameroon
DR Congo Guinea Algeria Ivory Coast Mali Ghana
Uganda Madagascar Kenya South Africa Mauritania Benin
Zimbabwe Burundi Tanzania Namibia Angola Guinea-Bissau

The teams play each other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group qualifying automatically for the second phase. The six third placed teams records are then compared and the top four third-placed sides will also make it into the knockout stage.

The knockout stage begins on July 5th and will see eight matches in the Round of 16 before the quarterfinals, semifinals and then the final. There is also a third-placed playoff held two days before the final (17th July) with the final itself taking place on 19th July.

Where can I watch the African Cup of Nations in the UK?

Eurosport are covering the African Cup of Nations in the UK, but you can also potentially catch games on bet365’s superb Live Streaming service, provided you have a credit balance in your account or you have placed a bet within the preceding 24-hour period. Check the Live Streaming schedule for details of which games will be shown live at bet365.

African Cup of Nations Favourites

As you can see, the host nation Egypt are the favourites to win the title and it is not difficult to see why. In addition to home advantage they also have a great record in this tournament winning it seven times in total (more than any other team). They were runners up to Cameroon the last time the tournament was held in 2017.

Ghana and Senegal are both expected to do well as are traditional African powerhouses Nigeria and the Ivory Coast and all these teams are blessed with a number of top players. Indeed, some of the stars set to grace the screens in the tournament this summer is a who’s who of world football talent.

Alongside Liverpool’s Mo Salah, the likes of Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Achraf Hakimi (Dortmund), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Naby Keita (Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (Man City), Wilfred Zaha (Crystal Palace), Franck Kessie (Milan), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid), Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter) and Andre Onana (Ajax) will all be in action.

Alongside the bigger names in African soccer, there are a number of less familiar names taking part. Madagascar, Mauritania and Burundi are all making their debut in the Finals while Kenya are making their first appearance since 2004 and Tanzania their first since 1980. A total of ten of the 24 teams taking part have won the tournament in the past.

  • Egypt – 7 Wins
  • Cameroon (Holders) – 5 Wins
  • Ghana – 4 Wins
  • Nigeria – 3 Wins
  • DR Congo – 2 Wins
  • Ivory Coast – 2 Wins
  • Tunisia – 1 Win
  • Algeria – 1 Win
  • Morocco – 1 Win
  • South Africa – 1 Win

Cameroon are expected to be the host of the next tournament in the summer of 2021. Ivory Coast is set to host in 2023 with Guinea the expected hosts in 2025.

Our Tips for the African Cup of Nations

We have decided to split our tips into two sections, the first being the six teams we feel will win their groups and then we will give you our reasoning on which team will win the entire tournament.

Tip 1 – Group Winners

We feel the following teams will win each group. All odds shown were correct at the time of writing at midday on Monday June 17th 2019 with bet365 Sport.

  • Group A – Egypt – 2/5
  • Group B – Nigeria – 4/7
  • Group C – Senegal – 4/6
  • Group D – Ivory Coast – 11/10
  • Group E – Tunisia – Evens
  • Group F – Cameroon – 11/8

Alongside these teams we’d expect Congo DR, Guinea, Algeria, Morocco, Mali and Ghana to make it through as second placed teams in each group, along with the four best third placed teams who we feel are likely to be South Africa, Benin, Angola and Kenya.

African Cup of Nations Overall Winners

I think with home advantage, the pressure is on Egypt but for me, I think they are the smart pick here. Playing at home is huge for any side but add to that a strong squad, a superb pedigree in this tournament, the fact they were losing finalists back in 2017 and the fact they have Mo Salah coming into this in superb form and as a Champions League winner, I feel Egypt at 5/1 are the sensible pick.