Register Login Live

PSL

Afcon Group B Preview

Afcon Group B preview – Ghana, Mali, Niger, Congo DR.

Star of the group: Dieumerci Mbokani

Despite being one of the lowest seeded teams in the African Cup of Nations draw, everyone wanted to avoid the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the key reasons for this is the ominous and imposing presence of Anderlecht striker Mbokani. 

 

After failing to settle at a number of footballing outposts across Europe, including in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, Mbokani finally found his feet in Belgium. 

 

Able to combine both speed and power, the frontman is on the radar of a number of major European clubs; an impressive international tournament with Congo could see a move to pastures new – the defences of Group B will not relish shackling the Kinshasa-born striker.

 

One to watch: Christian Atsu

Known as ‘Messi’ to fans in both Ghana and Portugal, it is abundantly clear that Christian Atsu is something special – whilst the diminutive winger hasn’t yet made the international splash that the Argentine did, and doesn’t yet share his reputation, he has the capacity to turn a game of football upside down in the same way as Barcelona’s revered magician. 

 

The left-sided midfielder is relatively new to the international set-up, having made his debut against Lesotho in June of last year, but after a goal in that game, it looks likely that the Porto man could be a Black Stars feature for years to come.

 

Key matchup: Congo DR v Mali, 28 January, Durban

With Ghana perceived by most to be the group-winners elect, it may well fall down to Congo and Mali to take second spot and qualify alongside the Black Stars. Were the pair to both overcome Niger, qualification may come down to this final bout in Durban. 

 

Will Mali’s experience see them through, or will the Leopards’ firepower be too much for Les Aigles?

 

Absent friend: Michael Essien & André Ayew

Despite having one of the most prodigiously talented squads in the competition, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Ghana’s two finest players won’t be present in South Africa. This is a shame both for the Black Stars and for the competition as a whole.

 

Despite calls from Ghanaian legend Nii Lamptey for him to take the captaincy, Essien ruled himself out of contention to focus on his club form and to repay back some of the faith that Real Madrid had shown in him. 

 

The news was a bitter blow to Black Stars fans who were hoping that Essien, who at 29 ought to be in his footballing pomp, would finally make his long-awaited return to international competition.

 

With injury worries of his own, Marseille’s André Ayew has also missed out on the trip. The omission will represent a major disappointment for the player who was only fleetingly effective at the 2012 competition, and who will have had aspirations to have starred this time around. 

 

Soccer-Laduma prediction

Despite their absentees, the likes of Atsu, Asamoah and Agyemang-Badu should see Ghana top the group. Niger were outclassed in 2012 and look unlikely to threaten, whilst Congo and Mali are the favourites to scrap it out for second place.

 

 

3 comments

Top 5

Downs To Hijack Chiefs Deal?

218 Mar 29, 2021 10:53 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

10 Richest African Footballers In The World, Past & Present

7 Mar 11, 2021 07:19 PM in African Football

PSL Players Who Have Qualified For AFCON

16 Mar 29, 2021 11:59 AM in PSL

All Eight Teams To Have Qualified For CAFCL Quarters

116 Apr 10, 2021 11:30 PM in African Football

10 SA Players Silently Making Their Mark Abroad

Mar 29, 2021 01:54 PM in Players Abroad

32 Players You May Have Forgotten Played For Downs

38 Apr 08, 2021 08:01 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

All Eight Teams To Have Qualified For CAFCL Quarters

116 Apr 10, 2021 11:30 PM in African Football

Khan Urges Chiefs To Sign 'Underrated' Midfielder

43 Apr 11, 2021 12:59 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

Official: Chiefs Qualify For CAF CL Quarter-Finals

786 Apr 10, 2021 10:52 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

CAF QF Draw Explained, Who Will Downs & Chiefs Get?

218 Apr 11, 2021 09:35 AM in CAF Champions League

Nine Chiefs Players Not Going To AFCON

102 Mar 29, 2021 03:22 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

The Highest-Paid African Stars In The EPL

18 Feb 02, 2021 07:14 PM in English Premier League

Confirmed: Manyisa's Next Destination Revealed

47 Mar 30, 2021 04:00 PM in PSL

12 Players Who Went Bankrupt

23 Dec 07, 2020 12:34 PM in World News