As the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019) draws closer, we take a look at the teams that will be featuring, highlighting their strengths and key players against their opponents in the group stages.
The tournament which starts on June 21 and ends on July 19, will have 24 participating teams in six groups, for the first time in its history.
In this article, we will profile Group A, which has the hosts Egypt, taking on Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
- Qualifying: Tunisia 3-2 0-1, Niger 6-0 1-1, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) 4-1 2-0
- Scorers: Salah 4, Hassan 3, M. Mohsen 2, Ashraf, Hegazy, S. Mohsen, Elneny, A. el Mohamady, B. el Mohamady, Warda 1 each
- Coach: Javier Aguirre (MEX)
- Africa/world rankings: 8/57
- Previous appearances: 23
- Best placing: champions (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Egypt is the most successful nation in African football, having won a record of seven AFCON titles.
Mohamed Salah, Egypt’s star player, won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool on June 1, 2019
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Democratic Republic of Congo
- Qualifying: Congo Brazzaville 3-1 1-1, Liberia 1-0 1-1, Zimbabwe 1-2 1-1
- Scorers: Bakambu 3, Bolasie, Elia, Kasongo, Mbemba 1 each, Hadebe (ZIM)-og
- Coach: Florent Ibenge (COD)
- Africa/world rankings: 5/46
- Previous appearances: 18
- Best placing: champions (1968, 1974)
Everton and DRC midfielder, Yannick Bolasie
- Qualifying: Cape Verde 1-0 1-0, Tanzania 0-0 0-3, Lesotho 3-0 2-0
- Scorers: Miya 3, Okwi 2, Kaddu, Sserunkuma 1 each
- Coach: Sebastien Desabre (FRA)
- Africa/world rankings: 16/79
- Previous appearances: 6
- Best placing: runners-up (1978)
Denis Onyango, Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper, is considered one of the finest footballers playing for a football club based on the continent
- Qualifying: Liberia 3-0 0-1, Congo Brazzaville 2-0 1-1, Democratic Republic of Congo 1-1 2-1
- Scorers: Musona 5, Billiat 3, Pfumbidzai 1
- Coach: Sunday Chidzambwa (ZIM)
- Africa/world rankings: 26/110
- Previous appearances: 3
- Best placing: first round
Zimbabwe Warriors’ captain Knowledge Musona has scored 22 goals in 34 outings for the country
Egypt are considered the favorites to top the group, but the other teams in the group have what it takes to qualify to the next stage. Uganda beat The Pharaohs in the World Cup qualifying campaign, while Zimbabwe took four points off DRC in the AFCON 2019 qualifying campaign.
“We have the hosts and they are always going to be favourites. DR Congo have a strong team and they will know what to expect from us. Uganda are a very good team also,’‘ Musona said.
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