AFCON 2019 is days away. Futaa looks ahead on what you can expect in an intriguing Group C.
With Senegal considered one of the favourite teams in the entire showpiece, will they show their worth right from the group stage or should we expect Kenya and Tanzania to spring a few surprises in the group? And how will Riyad Mahrez lead Algeria fair in the competition after an unconvincing qualifying campaign?
Group favourites from the time the draw was announced. Having Sadio Mane who is coming into the tournament after a brilliant campaign with Liverpool that ended with a Champions League triumph in their ranks, teams will be shivering against them.
In Kalidou Koulibaly, they have one of the most coveted defenders in world football and their midfield isn’t one that you wouldn't take lightly either with the likes of Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Alred Ndiaye all in the team.
- Prediction: 1st
- CAF Ranking: 1st
- AFCON appearances: 14
- Key man: Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Star-studded Algeria was less convincing in their qualification after falling to Benin in October and taking just two points from the Gambia but that should not deceive you about their prowess going by the array of stars at their disposal.
Their weakest part must be their defence but with the duo of Riyad Mahrez who has just won the English Premier League with Manchester City and Porto’s Yacine Brahimi being a subject of a move to some top most clubs in Europe, they have an attack that would easily score goals past any other opponent.
- Prediction: 2nd
- CAF Ranking: 12th
- AFCON Appearances: 17
- Key man: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
For Kenya, many see Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Victor Wanyama as the man to watch but Ayub Timbe, for the locals should be a man who should be taken seriously. Despite just coming from an injury, the Chinese based winger banged seven goals for his club last season in 14 appearances.
The defence is their strongest point after conceding just one goal in the qualification process but apart from Michael Olunga, they have no other player who could bang goals as regularly as they would like this leaving the Japanese base striker as their main man in attack.
- Prediction: 3rd
- CAF Ranking: 23rd
- AFCON Appearances: 5
- Key man: Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tanzania will surely depend on Belgium-based striker and captain Mbwana Samatta but people should not forget about the energetic Simon Msuva who has been an ideal foil for the attacker. Plying his trade in Morocco with Difaa El Jadida, the 25-year-old has scored eight in 17 in the Moroccan top flight this term - following on 10 goals last season - and is thriving under new Taifa Stars coach Emmanuel Amuneke.
- Prediction: 4th
- CAF Ranking: 36th
- AFCON Appearances: 1
- Key man: Mbwana Samatta (KRC Genk)
So will our predictions prove true or will football make us gasp ‘wow’ again? Let's find out in less than two weeks.
Make sure to follow Futaa for profiles of key players, daily breaking news and team news from the other groups during the tournament. Follow Kenya, Senegal, Algeria & Tanzania as they progress through the tournament.
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