Africa Fantasy: Group D preview
This group has three previous AFCON winners!
Group D of the AFCON has in its line-up three former Champions! That’s right, only one team — Namibia — in this group has never won the AFCON title. The three others have won it: Ivory Coast twice and Morocco and South Africa once. Check our preview of each of these nations below, it might give you some ideas for your Africa Fantasy team!
Morocco won the AFCON 33 years ago, in 1976, and will play the tournament for the 17th time. Coming from Pot 1, they have high chances of advancing, with a good lot of players with European experience.
Morocco won the qualification Group B with 11 points, the same as second place Cameroon. The other teams were Malawi and Comoro Islands. With three victories, two draws and a defeat, the Moroccan side scored 8 goals and conceded 3. Hakim Ziyech was the top scorer, with 3 goals.
Hakim Ziyech is the main star of the Moroccan national team. But there are other well known players like defender Mehdi Benatia, goalkeeper Bounou, midfielder Boufal or striker En-Nesyri. The last three all play in Spanish La Liga.
Goalkeepers: Y. Bounou, M. El Kajoui, A. R. Tagnaouti;
Defenders: M. Benatia, A. Hakimi, M. da Costa, N. Mazraoui, Abdelhamid;
Midfielders: H. Ziyech, S. Boufal, N. Amrabat, Y. Belhanda, F. Fajr, K. El Ahmadi, Boussoufa, N. Dirar, O. Idrissi, R. Saïss, M. Bourabia, Y. Aït Bennasser;
Attackers: En-Nesyri, A. El Kaabi, K. Boutaïb.
From Pot 2 comes two-times Champion Ivory Coast. They won the trophy pretty recently, in 2015, are the second nation with most presences: this will be their 23rd time playing AFCON.
Ivory Coast qualified with a second place in Group H, 1 point behind Guinea and ahead of Central African Republic and Rwanda. They won three games, drew two and lost one, scoring 12 goals and conceding 5. There’s no clear goal scorer, with four players scoring twice: Bailly, S. Doumbia, M. Cornet and J. Kodjia.
Eric Bailly, the Manchester United defender, is probably the best known Ivorian player today, but he will miss AFCON due to injury. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of talent in the squad: Aurier, Zaha, Cornet, Kessié, Seri, Pépé are some of the best the AFCON has to offer.
Goalkeepers: S. Gbohouo, Ali Badra, E. I. Tape;
Defenders: S. Aurier, S. Doumbia, W. Kanon, C. Comara, I. Traoré, M. Bagayoko, W. Coulibaly;
Midfielders: W. Zaha, M. Cornet, Max Gradel, F. Kessié, I. Sangaré, J. M. Seri, JP Gbamin, Serey Dié, V. Angban;
Attackers: N. Pépé, J. Kodjia, R. Assalé, W. Bony.
From Pot 3 comes another former Champion: South Africa won the AFCON title in 1996. They’ll participate for 10th time but didn’t have much luck in the draw. With Morocco and Ivory Coast as favorites to advance, the South Africans need to outperform themselves.
South Africa qualified without losing a single match, but came only second in Group E, behind Nigeria and ahead of Libya and Seychelles. With three victories and three draws, they managed to draw 0–0 with Seychelles, a team that got only 1 point and conceded 25 goals in 6 games! The South African goal difference was 11–2, with Percy Tau being the top scorer with 4 goals.
The majority of the South African team plays in their home country. There’s no big name in the squad, with the strikers Percy Tau and Lebo Mothiba being their top rated men.
Goalkeepers: D. Keet, B. Bvuma, R. Williams;
Defenders: Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, S. Hlanti, D. Cardoso, I. Maela, Mphahlele, T. Mkhize;
Midfielders: T. Serero, T. Zwane, S. Vilakazi, D. Furman, L. Maboe, B. Zungu, H. Kekana, K. Mokotjo, T. Lorch, T. Mabunda;
Attackers: L. Mothiba, Percy Tau, L. Veldwijk.
From Pot 4, Namibia plays the AFCON for the 3rd time. They never got beyond the Group Stage and this year their chances are also very slim.
Namibia qualified with a second place in Group K. This was a very complicated group, because every team could win it. The final points of the four teams were: 9, 8, 8, 7 — only 2 points separating the winner from the last spot. They finished behind Guinea-Bissau and ahead of Mozambique (same points, but Namibia won both games against the Mozambican) and Zambia. Every team in the group conceded 7 goals, but Namibia was the one who scored less: only 5. Shalulile, with 2 goals, was the top scorer.
With almost all the squad playing in African leagues, there’s no obvious choices here. Go for attacking players like Shalulile or Hotho if you believe in Namibia’s chances.
Goalkeepers: Mbazuvara, L. Kazapua, Max Mbaeva;
Defenders: A. Gebhardt, D. Haoseb, L. Horaeb, R. Hanamub, C. Hambira, Kamberipa, R. Nyambe;
Midfielders: Deon Hotto, P. Shitembi, Stephanus, Ketjijere, A. Limbondi, Fredericks, J. Kamatuka, M. Starke, M. Papama;
Attackers: Shalulile, I. Gurirab, B. Shilongo, I. Keimuine.