AFCON qualifiers have come to a close and we now know who has made it to the next round and who has not. Unfortunately Zambia is not one of the teams to progress. It just was not meant to be this time around. Nonetheless, we have decided to highlight some teams that will be must-watch sides come July in Egypt.
We will start with one of the most dominant teams in the qualifiers, Senegal. The Black Stars are a frightening side right now. They all but breezed through their matches, only conceded 2 goals. Those goals came from their draw against Madagascar. Furthermore, that draw was the only points they have dropped. This form is of course helped by having one of the world’s very best center backs in Koulibaly lead the backline. On the other side of the pitch, Senegal’s attacking threat is truly frightening. They have scored 12 in 6 games. M’Baye Niang is responsible for 3 of those but what is surely frightening is that Idrissa Gueye and Moussa Sow are threats in themselves. All of that without mentioning the fact that they have one of the best wingers in the world right now, Mané,causing havoc down the wide areas.
Another team that went through the qualifiers undefeated and ended at the top of their group is Guinea. Even though they are undefeated they are on a 3 much run of draws. They need to strengthen their concentration if they are going to stand a chance against stronger opposition. Alternately, they are lucky to have many goalscorers. The hope is that if they cannot stop leaking at the back, they will be a tricky attacking threat.
As always, an eye has to be kept on the tournament’s host Egypt. It has been nearly impossible to stop the Pharaohs from scoring. They have scored a bewildering 16 goals in their 6 games. Mohamed Salah and Trézéguet have 7 between the two of them. The only time Egypt did not score was their away match at Tunisia, the team that came first in the group. Despite the loss, every team will be wary of the Pharaohs because at home they have scored at least 3 goals during these qualifiers. Being the host, Egypt will be ready to keep their home a fortress and hopefully winning the tournament in the process.
To get a more holistic view of the qualifiers let us have a quick view at a side that did not make it through. Mozambique were on the brink of making it through to the finals, however after their draw against Guinea-Bissau, they were leapfrogged by Namibia. Most infuriating for Mozambique, they have almost exactly the same statistics as Namibia but lost out because their head to head result were worse than Namibia. Strangely, each leg’s results are carbon copies of each other – not including the matches against Namibia – possibly meaning that Mozambique struggled to bring something new against their opposition to create change. However, they should not let their heads dip. There are a lot of things to learn but they should be proud.
While Mozambique and Chipolopolo did not make it through, 24 other teams did. You can use Betway Zambia to support your team in July.