AFCON 2017: Selected Treble Preview

Our football scribe previews a selected treble from the AFCON 2017. 

At the time of writing, we have seen four draws from six AFCON 2017 games. Will the trend continue or will the matches be more opened and entertaining? Most of the teams will be desperate to earn their maiden victory and take a step closer to the quarter-finals.

Cameroon, Algeria and Ivory Coast disappointed in their opening ties and will be determined to improve in the second round of fixtures after all three sides played to respective stalemates last time out. Find out who’s worth backing in our selected treble below.

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Group A
Wednesday 18 January

Cameroon 11/20 | Draw 11/4 | Guinea-Bissau 57/10 
With a lack of quality in their squad, results have been more negative than positive for Cameroon – a nation once considered to be the giants of African football. From 1998-2010, Cameroon had advanced to the last eight at every Nations Cup and it’s about time they get back to their best.

The Indomitable Lions started this year’s showpiece with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso and will now have the chance to claim maximum against relatively weaker opposition.

Guinea-Bissau will be aiming to at least advance to the quarter-finals in their debut showing in the Nations Cup. They were expected to fade into the background in the qualifying round but thanks to back-to-back wins over Kenya and 2012 African champions Zambia, the Djurtus topped their group.

Prior to this campaign, Guinea-Bissau had played a measly 32 competitive internationals, in either Nations Cup or World Cup, winning only four matches in the process. The Djurtus impressed in the opening match of the tournament against hosts Gabon, earning a well-deserved 1-1 draw.

Advancing to the AFCON finals from a qualifying group in which they were expected to finish rock-bottom was an extraordinary accomplishment. And while you may wish Guinea-Bissau all the luck in the world, I just don’t see Cameroon slipping up against the tournament underdogs. Back the Indomitable Lions to claim maximum points in the Nations Cup for the first time in seven years.

Group B
Thursday 19 January

Algeria 13/10 | Draw 43/20 | Tunisia 43/20
On Thursday, Algeria and Tunisia will square off with both teams aiming for all three points. With five wins and just one draw from six matches, Algeria topped their qualifying group, while El Arabi Hillel Soudani ending the campaign with an impressive seven goals.

During the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Algeria experienced a slight drop in form and that has agitated supporters, casting doubt over their ability to claim a second continental title. Algeria’s solitary AFCON triumph came on home soil in 1990, while they were beaten in the quarter-finals last time out by eventual winners Ivory Coast.

The Algerians were front runners to win the 2015 edition after a similar phenomenal qualifying campaign but failed to live up to those standards. Their strength in depth and quality is leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of teams at the Nations Cup and if they hit form, they might just have a shot at making the final.

Tunisia have started the 2017 edition of the AFCON with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Egypt. The Carthage Eagles are making a record 13th consecutive Nations Cup appearance and will be eager to come away with a positive result against the Algerians.

A loss against the Desert Foxes could see Tunisia eliminated from the competition, so a fiery affair is on the cards. They have won the Nations Cup just once – in 2004 on home soil – and will be determined to show the kind of form that saw them top their qualifying group.

This is surely not the strongest Tunisian squad in recent years but they certainly have the quality to give their opponents a run for their money. Nonetheless, I still feel Algeria are the better team, both defensively and going forward. Back the Desert Foxes to hand Tunisia a second loss on the bounce.

Group C 

Friday 20 January

Ivory Coast 13/20 | Draw 9/4 | DR Congo 5/1  
Defending champions Ivory Coast and DR Congo will go toe-to-toe on Friday evening at the Stade d'Oyem. Ivory Coast were far from their best in the qualifying round and didn’t look any better in their opening match, playing to a goalless draw against Togo.

With players such as Yaya and Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora and Didier Drogba now phased out of this team, the Elephants are very much a work in progress. Ivory Coast definitely have the personnel to advance to the next round of the competition but it will take tremendous team spirit, hard work and determination to progress from a group as tough as this one.

DR Congo - without breaking much of a sweat- topped their qualifying group with five victories and one defeat, scoring 16 goals and conceding just six times as they qualified from their respective group as winners with a five-point cushion.

With Yannick Bolasie out of action due to a long-term knee injury, I thought surely this Congolese side will face an early exit but after grinding out a 1-0 win against a talented Moroccan side, I feel as though Congo might just have the team spirit and believe to pull off an upset against Ivory Coast.

Goals have been seemingly difficult to come by in recent games for Ivory Coast and if the Leopards are discipline enough, they might just be able to edge the win. The last five meetings have seen Both Teams find the back of the net with Over 2.5 Goals in each clash. Both markets have great value but I am backing DR Congo to grind out a victory.

TREBLE @ 21/1
Cameroon Win 11/20
Algeria Win 13/10
DR Congo Win 5/1

Written by Aaron Crowie for!

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