The Africa Cup of Nations 2022 started in an expected fashion – a lot of interesting moments, a lot of goals, and a lot of football! The long wait is finally over and fans of football can finally enjoy one of the most beloved football tournaments in the world. Everyone has a different favorite to win this edition of the AFCON but the real winner is the fans themselves as the competition is fierce and so is the quality.
Historically most likely outcome
In the 2019 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the winner was Algeria and rightfully so with such amazing performances as the ones the Algerians had. The tournament was hosted by Egypt and Algeria managed to grab the trophy with a 1:0 victory over Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium where 75,000 people witnessed a world-class performance by Algeria and disappointment for Senegal. The team will look to defend its trophy in this edition of the tournament for sure but other teams will strive for success as well.
Egypt for example is the most successful team in the tournament with 7 titles. With 7 titles to their name, the Egyptians will aim for a place in the final. But will Mo Salah bring glory to his country? The team didn’t start on the right foot and lost the 1st game in Group D against Nigeria so Salah and company must provide the best possible display in the games to come.
But what about the disappointed team of Senegal? Where do their chances lay?
Senegal – the underdog
Most fans would agree that Senegal is one of the major football powers in Africa but probably not the one to favor when predicting who would win the Africa Cup of Nations as Algeria, Egypt, and the host Cameroon all look too good to ignore.
Don’t count Senegal out of the tournament yet as the team looks sharp and ready to prove the critics wrong. The 1st game for Senegal on Group B was against Zimbabwe and Senegal managed to win with a late 96th-minute penalty scored by Sadio Mane. The team offered the spectators an expected possessional dominance over Zimbabwe and the result should’ve been 1:0 or 2:0 far earlier into the game. But it is games like this that sift out the champion from the loser.
The next game for Senegal is against Guinea who also got the victory over Malawi in their first game. With a little bit of luck, Senegal can find a way to the next stage with the 2nd game of the tournament.
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And how can you not expect them to? The team has yet to provide its best performances in attack with the likes of Liverpool star Sadio Mane, Watford’s main man in attack Ismaila Sarr, and Villareal’s target man Boulaye Dia.
In the back, we have one of the most prolific defenders of the tournament – team captain Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, as well as PSG’s Abdou Diallo, with Chelsea’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy guarding the fort.
The team seems to have it all and you can be sure that after the 2019 disappointment in the final that success in this edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is exactly what the boys from Senegal will go for. Or as Sadio Mane said himself in a message to his friends from Liverpool Mo Salah and Naby Keita – “See one of you in the final!”