Africa Fantasy: Group E preview
Tunisia are the top seeded nation in a group that can prove unpredictable
The 2004 AFCON winners Tunisia will face a group where they are the favorites, but it won’t be easy. With Mali, Mauritania and Angola completing the ensemble, every team has its hope to advance. Check our preview of each of these nations below, it might give you some ideas for your Africa Fantasy team!
In 2004, Tunisia won the AFCON for the first time in their history. This year, they’ll play the tournament for the 19th time. Despite being one of the most experienced African teams, they’re not among the favorites to win this year. But they are the favorites in this group.
Tunisia did a great qualification, winning Group J ahead of Egypt. They won five games and lost only in Egypt, by 3–2. With only 4 goals conceded, the Tunisians scored 12, with Naïm Sliti emerging as the top scorer, with 4 goals.
Wahbi Kazri and Naïm Sliti, both from the French League, are the stars in a team that has other good players like Anice Badri and Taha Khenissi.
Goalkeepers: Ben Mustapha, Hassen, Ben Cherifia;
Defenders: Bronn, Meriah, Ben Mohamed, Dräger, Haddadi, Bedoui, Kechrida, Hnid;
Midfielders: Khazri, Sliti, Badri, Msakni, Srarfi, Sassi, Chaaleli, Aouadhi, Skhiri, Lamti;
Attackers: Khenissi, Chaouat.
From Pot 2 comes Mali, with their 11th participation. They never won the AFCON, but reached the final in 1972. Mali has good chances of advancing past the group stage, although the group is a bit unpredictable.
In Group C of the qualifiers, Mali didn’t have trouble securing the top spot. Without losing a match, they drew both games against Burundi and won both games against Gabon and South Sudan. They conceded only 2 goals and scored 10, with Kalifa Coulibaly and Adama Traoré being the top scorers with 2 goals each.
Without a super-star in the squad, Mali has some interesting players. From the Portuguese League they have Moussa Marega and Abdoulaye Diaby. Midfielders Moussa Doumbia, Adama Traoré (from Orléans) and Adama “Noss” Traoré (from Cercle Brugge) are also ones to watch. And, of course, the striker Kalifa Coulibaly.
Goalkeepers: A. Kéïta, Djigui, Mounkoro;
Defenders: Fofana, F. Falaye, Massadio, Molla, Hamari, Kiki, Y. Koné;
Midfielders: Doumbia M., Diaby, Noss, Koïta, D. Samassékou, Traoré A., Lassana, Djenepo, A. Haidara, Cheick;
Attackers: Marega, Kalifa, Niane A.
Mauritania will play the AFCON for the first time in their history. Coming from Pot 3, their chances of advancing beyond the group stage are very slim.
Mauritania came second in Group I of the qualifiers, behind Angola, who are also in this AFCON group. They lost away to Angola and Burkina Faso, but won the other four matches, including two against Botswana. With a goal difference of 7–6, the top scorer was Ismael Diakite, with 3.
Without any big name in their squad, your best bet is to go with striker Ismael Diakite if you must have someone from Mauritania. Bessam, Adama Ba or El Id Hacen are other cheap options for your midfield, with some international goals on their curricula.
Goalkeepers: Souley Diallo, Babacar D., Namori;
Defenders: Abdoul Ba, Abou Demba, Aly Abeid, B. N’Diaye, EM. Diaw, Sally Sarr, Thiam Abd., Diarra;
Midfielders: El Id Hacen, Adama Ba, Bessam, Coulibaly, Guidilèye D., Palaye, A. Diop, K. Camara, Y. Dellahi;
Attackers: I. Diakite, H. Tanji, Souleymane.
In their 8th participation, Angola comes from Pot 4 and will reunite with Mauritania, after they were in the same qualification group. Despite coming from Pot 4, Angola might have a better chance of advancing than Mauritania.
Angola won the qualification Group I, ahead of Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Botswana. With two away losses, against Burkina Faso and Mauritania, they won the other four matches in the group, scoring 9 and conceding 6. The veteran Mateus was the top scorer, with 4 goals.
The Lazio center-back Bastos is the most renowned Angolan player. From the Portuguese League come three attackers capable of scoring lots of goals: Mateus, Gelson Dala and Wilson Eduardo. The winger Fredy can also cause problems for the opposing teams.
Goalkeepers: Landu, Tony Cabaça, Ndulo;
Defenders: Bastos, B. Gaspar, Dany Massunguna, Eddie, Buatu, Paízo, Wilson;
Midfielders: Fredy, Djalma, Evandro, Geraldo, Isaac, Macaia, Stélvio, Herenilson, Show;
Attackers: Wilson E., Gelson Dala, Mateus, Mabululu.