Africa Cup of Nations pumps up the pressure as knockouts begin
Decisions will be made over the next few days as top football teams bring their best game to the pitch in Egypt where the extremely hot 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is being held.
Hometown favourites Egypt, along with top teams Morocco and Senegal will need to up their A-games during round 16 of the quest for the best.
CAN 2019 knock-out stages
On Saturday, all eyes will be on Cameroon-Nigeria the neighbours are playing in Alexandria at 16h00 GMT. It’s a grudge match, as no one can forget the 4-0 drubbing Nigeria’s Super Eagles gave the Cameroon Lions in the 2017 World Cup playoffs.
But both teams have been a bit lackluster in this tournament. Nigeria lost to novice-yet-older team Madagascar, surprising everyone (and themselves!) with a 2-0 finish.
Cameroon looks to be the team-no-score as they drew with Ghana and Benin, both results 0-0.
Meanwhile, local heroes Egypt play against South Africa on Saturday at 19h00GMT, which will be played to a packed stadium.
Algeria’s star performance has been a welcome surprise, and they will go head-to-head against Guinea at 19h00 GMT in Cairo on Sunday. Coach Djamel Belmadi believes they are headed for a quarter final match against Mali or Cote d’Ivoire.
Although Senegal’s beloved Lions of Teranga are still slated for greatness, a number of unfortunate injuries of key players and their defeat against Algeria (0-1) makes their future a little less uncertain.
They are up to play against formidable opponent Uganda on Friday evening at 19h00 GMT. Senegal’s coach Aliou Cissé is confident they can make this next match a winning one, even without the help of star goalie Edouard Mendy, who fractured his hand. Injured player Salif Sané should be returning to the pitch for this game.
Considered the ‘oldest’ team in the tournament, with the average age of 28, the Madagascar Zebus, which has sent its team to CAN for the first time, is perhaps shining the brightest with some quick moves.
They’ll be playing against Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday in Alexandria (16h00 GMT).
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