The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations forms part of a busy schedule in international football this summer and it promises to be one of the most exciting tournaments held over the past few years.
Hosts Egypt kick things off against Zimbabwe on June 21 and are currently rated as 9/2 favourites to win the trophy for the eighth time.
This year’s competition has been increased from 16 to 24 teams. They have been drawn into six groups of four teams each and will play a single round robin. The groups are as follows:
- Group A – Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe
- Group B – Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi
- Group C – Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania
- Group D – Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia
- Group E – Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola
- Group F – Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau
After the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16. Quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will follow to determine the winner, while the two losing semi-finalists will play in a third-place play-off.
Egypt are strongly fancied to finish top of Group A, with only the Democratic Republic of Congo expected to provide much competition during the first stage.
However, the seven-time champions don’t appeal as likely winners of the tournament with their team overly reliant on Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.
Nigeria should claim top spot in Group B and will be a popular each-way bet at odds of 15/2 to claim the trophy for a fourth time.
Guinea should qualify alongside Nigeria, while debutants Burundi and Madagascar will hope to bag third place and a possible place in the last 16.
Senegal and Algeria look too classy in Group C and both teams could have a major say in this summer’s tournament.
Riyad Mahrez is the standout name in Algeria’s squad and they will be a popular pick at odds of around 14/1 with punters looking for a bit of value.
Group D is a difficult one to predict, with Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa all harbouring hopes of reaching the latter stages this summer.
Ivory Coast, who won the tournament in 2015, may claim top spot, while Morocco can edge out South Africa for second.
Tunisia and Mali should progress from Group E, while Ghana and Cameroon are fancied to take the top two places in Group F.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations prediction
Many pundits have tipped Egypt to come out on top this summer, but they look far too short in the betting right now. Both Senegal and Ivory Coast appear to have stronger squads and slight preference is for the latter in what should be an entertaining tournament.