Cameroon vs Ivory Coast | Wednesday 28 January | Malabo | 20:00
Two long-serving giants of African football meet in the final round of Group D fixtures. With all four games in the first two rounds playing out to 1-1 draws (no jokes, only in Africa), it’s really down to the winners of the next two group games to determine who will progress. To think that this means one of these teams is likely to be heading home, it adds that much more heat to the Group D cauldron.
To Win (90mins)
Ivory Coast 12/10
Despite being unbeaten in their last ten internationals, Cameroon will go into this one as slight underdogs. Not because they’re not capable of going all the way in AFCON 2015, but because of their disastrous World Cup and below average qualification route to this point. Group D would be considered one of the toughest along with Bafana Bafana’s treacherous fixture list, but the Indomitable Lions would have hoped to be sitting on more than a measly two points thus far. Their recent encounters against Ivory Coast have been fruitful, including a 4-1 drumming back in September last year. Despite being the bookies’ underdogs, ninety minutes separates them from the quarter-finals. That’s tangible motivation if they ever needed it.
The Elephants have also not produced their finest football in the opening two rounds and would’ve hoped to have secured qualification by the time this fixture came around. Despite fielding their star-studded best, they have yet to make the impact that would have been expected. Herve Renard will be a little nervous going into this fixture, despite the majority of punters sitting in their corner for this match. So often in AFCON, we see big sides fail to produce the results and he’ll be hoping that his side don’t fall into that trap. Their lacklustre showing so far will need dramatic improvement and they’ve had to come back from a goal down in both games thus far just to yield the two points they have to their name.
VERDICT: Cameroon 23/10
I’ve sticking my neck out here. Cameroon are perceived underdogs at 23/10, with Ivory Coast trading at 12/10, but this tells a far different story from what’s played out in the 180 minutes of action so far. It’s going to be an epic match whichever way it goes but it seems the stars of the Elephants’ squad would rather be back in their luxurious European club competitions, than slumming it in West Africa.