Africa Fantasy: Group A preview
Two former AFCON Champions clash in the first group
The first group of 2019’s AFCON has the host nation of Egypt as the favorites to advance to the next stage. Fighting for a spot are also former champion (twice) DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Check our preview of each of these nations below, it might give you some ideas for your Africa Fantasy team!
The pharaohs are the hosts of this year’s AFCON. They are the nation with most appearances in the tournament, playing it for the 24th time, and also the one with the most titles: seven! Will the home advantage lead Salah and co. to its 8th title?
The Egyptians were in Group J of the qualifiers and they didn’t win it. They came 2nd, 3 points behind group winners Tunisia, and above Niger and Swaziland. They lost the first game, against Tunisia, and the last one, surprisingly, against Niger. The other four matches were won. With 15 goals scored and 5 conceded, the Egyptians had in Salah, with 4 goals, its best scorer.
There’s no escaping it: UCL winner, with Liverpool, Mohamed Salah is Egypt’s star and, probably, the best African player today. Trézéguet is another winger you should keep under your radar.
Goalkeepers: M. Elshenawy, El-Shenawy, M. Gennesh;
Defenders: Elmohamady, A. Hegazy, A. Ashraf, M. Hamdy, Omar Gaber, A. Mansour, B. El Mohamady, M. Alaa;
Midfielders: M. Salah, Trézéguet, Abdallah, Amr Warda, M. Elneny, T. Hamed, Ali Ghazal, Nabil Emad, W. Soliman;
Attackers: M. Mohsen, Kouka, Ahmed Ali.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has two AFCON titles on their records, but the most recent one isn’t recent at all: 45 years have passed since DR Congo won the tournament, in 1974. They were drawn into this group from Pot 2, so they have a chance of progressing.
In a group with Zimbabwe, Liberia and Congo (the other one), DR Congo came only second, behind Zimbabwe. They won only two games, draw three and lost just one, against group winners Zimbabwe. They went 8–6 in goal difference, with Bakambu being the top scorer, with three goals.
Cédric Bakambu is the main character in DR Congo’s squad. The former Villarreal player is now in China, playing for Beijing Guoan, where he continues to score goals for life.
Goalkeepers: Matampi, Mossi, P. Mandanda;
Defenders: Luyindama, Masuaku, Bokadi, Ngonda, Ungenda, Mbemba, Djuma, Mpeko, Tisserand;
Midfielders: Y. Bolasie, M’Poku, Mputu, C. Akolo, Mulumbu, Maghoma, Meschak, Moke;
Attackers: C. Bakambu, Assombalonga, J. Bolingi.
Participating for the 7th time in the tournament, Uganda have legitimate hopes of advancing after the good results in the qualifiers.
Uganda won the Group L of the qualifiers, with four wins, a draw and a defeat. They came ahead of Tanzania, Lesotho and Cape Verde, scoring seven goals and conceding three. They drew against Tanzania at home, and lost by 3–0 away against the same team. Farouk Miya was Uganda’s top scorer, with three goals.
Without a big star in the squad, and not many players playing in Europe, goalkeeper Dennis Onyango is the voice of command in the team. The top scorer Farouk Miya, who’s only 19 years old, is Uganda’s big hope.
Goalkeepers: D. Onyango, J. Salim, Odongkara;
Defenders: G. Walsimbi, B. Mugabi, I. Muleme, J. Ochaya, M. Jjuuko, N. A. Wadada, R. Mukiibi, T. D. Awany;
Midfielders: F. Miya, L. Kizito, T. Lwanga, A. Lumala, Kateregga, H. Wasswa, K. Aucho, Kyambadde, M. Azira;
Attackers: E. Okwi, D. Nsibambi, P. H. Kaddu.
Zimbabwe will meet DR Congo again, after facing them in the qualifier Group G, which gives them hope of progressing. This is their 4th presence in the AFCON group stage.
Despite coming from Pot 4, Zimbabwe actually won its qualifier group, finishing ahead of DR Congo, who were placed in Pot 2 and drawn also to this group. With three victories, two draws and a defeat, Zimbabwe scored 9 goals and conceded 4. Their only loss was against Liberia, who failed to qualify. Knowledge Musona, with 5 goals in 5 appearances, was the team’s best scorer.
Marvelous Nakamba and Knowledge Musona, both playing in the Belgium League, are Uganda’s top rated players. Le Havre’s Tino Kadewere is one the young players who could have an impact.
Goalkeepers: E. Sibanda, E. Chipezeze, G. Chigova;
Defenders: T. Hadebe, T. Darikwa, A. Mudimu, D. Lunga, J. Dzingai, M. Munetsi, Pfumbidzai;
Midfielders: K. Musona, K. Billiat, O. Karuru, Chawapiwa, D. Phiri, M. Nakamba, K. Mahachi, T. Kitinyu, T. Kamusoko;
Attackers: E. Rusike, N. Mushekwi, K. Mutizwa, T. Kadewere.