Charlie Huggins provides his selections for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Saturday when hosts Ivory Coast take on Guinea-Bissau.
The Africa Cup of Nations was won by Senegal two years ago and they will be hoping to become part of a select group of back-to-back winners when this year’s tournament begins in the Ivory Coast on Saturday.
The hosts kick off the tournament as they take on Guinea-Bissau in the opener, with 24 teams hoping to get their hands on the trophy just under a month later.
Morocco to win the Africa Cup of Nations @ 6/1
Morocco have only won the Africa Cup of Nations once, in 1976, but they look to have a rock solid chance of adding their second title in this year’s tournament.
The Atlas Lions reached the semi-finals of the World Cup just over 12 months ago and that is the outstanding piece of form in this field.
There was no fluke about Morocco’s success in that tournament. They topped a group containing Croatia, Belgium and Canada before seeing off Spain and Portugal in the knockout stages.
Defence was key to their success in that tournament, they kept clean sheets against both Spain and Portugal and only conceded five goals in the entire tournament, two of which came in their defeat to France in the last four.
Their back five of Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss and Noussair Mazraoui are the best at this year’s AFCON and in what is often a low-scoring tournament, that could be crucial.
Walid Regragui’s men have beaten Brazil in the last 12 months and are ranked 13th in the world.
Aside from their solid defence, they can produce moments of magic through Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri and Azzedine Ounahi, and look the team to beat in this year’s edition.
Vincent Aboubakar top goalscorer @ 11/1
Vincent Aboubakar took top goalscorer honours in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and is a tempting price to repeat the trick this time around.
Cameroon were the top scorers in that tournament and no player from another nation got within five goals of Aboubakar, who netted eight, in the scoring charts.
With Bryan Mbeumo injured, expect the weight of responsibility to fall on Aboubakar and he has had a strong season at Besiktas. Back him to top the goalscoring charts again.
The two West African heavyweights Nigeria and Ivory Coast look to have Group A between them but it’s worth taking a chance on the Super Eagles topping the section.
Hosts have a poor record in this tournament generally and the Ivory Coast only finished second in their qualifying group.
Nigeria have the forward options many teams would dream of, with Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Ahmed Musa and Victor Boniface to choose from, and that could be enough to see them top the group.