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Ighalo: Super Eagles Good Enough To Win AFCON 2019 Title

Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo believes the team can win a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt this summer, Completesports.com reports.

The competition will kick-off in Egypt on Friday with the opening match between the host nation and the Warriors of Zimbabwe.

The Super Eagles will begin their campaign on Saturday against debutants Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium.

Ighalo was the top scorer during the qualification round for the this year’s Afcon with seven goals and he remains confident that Nigeria have the quality to conquer the rest of the continent in a tough tournament.

“If anybody says the tournament will be easy, it is a lie because it is going to be tough, it is going to be hot but I believe in the team we have, we have all it takes to do well at the Afcon,” Ighalo stated in an interview with the NFF media.

“Nigeria has a good team that can play in the semi-final and the final. As I said, we will not get carried away.

“We have a team that can even win the trophy if we work hard and if we give everything we have on the pitch, not saying had I known later. We have all it takes to win it but let’s just start with the first game, to the quarter-finals, semis then we will see how it goes.”

Although Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has dismissed opinions that his team is one of the favourites for the title in Egypt, the Shanghai Shenhua attacker echoed the German’s views as he prefers the ‘underdog’ tag for their quest for glory.

“Anything I do in life, I like people to take me as an underdog because I like to surprise people and I like to take people unaware, that’s for me as a person,” he added.

“If they are taking us [underdog], it is very good because it won’t give the team more pressure.

“When the team has more pressure of winning this and that, that’s when you will start thinking of the final when you have not even played the first game.”

After Saturday’s game against Olivier Niyungeko’s men, the three-time African champions will play against Guinea on June 26 and Madagascar on June 30 at the Alexandria Stadium.

Source: Complete Sports

Ujah Joins New Bundesliga Side Union Berlin From FSV Mainz

Nigeria forward Anthony Ujah has joined newly promoted Bundesliga club Union Berlin on a three-year deal from FSV Mainz, reports Completesports.com.

Ujah’s signing comes as reinforcement for the Berlin outfit as they look to benefit from his top-flight experience as of they return to the German Bundesliga next season.

The 28-year-old has been playing in Germany since June 2011 and had stints at Koln, Werder Bremen before returning to Mainz 05 from Chinese outfit Liaoning in January 2018.

Since he made his Bundesliga debut in January 2012, Ujah has scored 51 goals in 171 Bundesliga games including the four he notched in the league last season.

“I was able to convince myself about Union on site here in Berlin. The impressions at the Alte Forsterei were very positive and so it was clear to me after my visit: I would like to play here,” Ujah told the club’s website.

“I’m looking forward to an exciting challenge and want to put my experience and my performances to help the team in order to deliver a successful season.”

Ujah will hope to help the Iron Ones maintain their top-flight status when the 2019-20 Bundesliga season begins on August 16.

Source: Complete Sports

AFCON 2019 Preview: Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia And Ghana Lead Odds To Win Groups

With 24 teams battling it out in six groups, the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off this Friday, 21 June with hosts Egypt taking on Zimbabwe

Only two days away from its opening match of Egypt x Zimbabwe on Friday, the main African national team football competition is packed with talent and world class players. Traditional squads Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Ghana are betters’ favourites to win their groups. Read on to learn more about odds and the six groups of the tournament.

First things first

Do not waste any more time and discover your favourite betting site. Head on over to Oddsshark and set up your new account using your credit card. The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be packed with opportunities as well as a wide host of promotions and special offers for you to place your best possible bets.

Where should I be investing my money?

If it comes down to betters’ opinions, Egypt should have it rather easy in Group A. Backed by its home crowd and led by Liverpool FC star Mohamed Salah, The Pharaohs, Zimbabwe, Congo and Ugandawill fight it outto secure the first place.

At 1.40 odds to lead Group A, Egypt’s group domination seems to be threatened only by DR Congo, priced at 3.25, since Zimbabwe and Uganda lack a solid track record in the competition, particularly in recent years in the case of the latter.

Next upcomes the Super Eagles’ Group B, also comprised of Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi, whom the team first face on Saturday, 21 June in Alexandria. Oddsshark puts our boys ahead to come out on top at 1.54, followed by Keita and Kamano’s Guinea, who come in at 2.75 to be the top ranked team of the group. In turn, both Madagascar and Burundi are playing their first-ever AFCON, which explains why they’re betters’ underdogs, especially Madagascar at 21.00.

Senegal and Algeria are understandably at the helm of Group C. Though the Lions of Teranga have never lifted an AFCON trophy and have a second place finish in 2002 as their best result, they are looking fit time around with the likes of Mané and Koulibaly, among others, to prove their strength. Thus, they come in at first before Algeria, winners of the 1990 edition, at 1.62 while the North Africans have 2.30 stakes of taking the group.

With Ivory Coast and Tunisia ahead, Groups D and E look competitive

Every major football competition has a particularly tough group. In the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, this applies to Group D, known as the “Group of Death”, where Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa will battle it out, with Namibia being the clear underdogs, whose 50.00 odds show this.

Priced at 2.00, The Elephants are betters’ favourites to finish first in the group, followed by the always competitive Moroccan side, who come in at 2.20. Both squads still have to face South Africa, though, who as we all know can always pull off major upsets and should claim third place in the group, thereby qualifying for the knock-out stage.

Though Group E hasn’t been deemed the toughest group as opposed to Group F, if it comes down to better’s opinions, it certainly looks that way. So much so that favourites Tunisia, at 2.00 of finishing first only barely edge past Mali, who come in at 2.10.

The two other squads in Group F are inexperienced Mauritania, competing in their first AFCON, and Angola, who should not pose major threats to the two dominating sides here.

Group F: Ghana overcome current AFCON champs Cameroon in bets

Few African teams can boast such a constant roster of skilled players in their history like Ghana. Gyan, Ayew and Asamoah are only a few that we can name in recent years. This may explain why the Black Stars are the favourites to take Group F.

According to Oddsshark, they have 1.76 chances of finish first in the group standings. On the other hand, coming in at second at 2.20, if you bet US$5 on Clarence Seedorf’s Cameroon, you could make an easy US$ 11 profit. Ghana seems to be in better form than the Indomitable Lions, who lifted the 2017 AFCON trophy, but their talent should never be underestimated. As is the case with Benin, a side who is always tough to play against.

Team odds to win their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations groups:

Group A:

Egypt – 1.40

DR Congo – 3.25

Uganda – 17.00

Zimbabwe – 26.00

Group B:

Nigeria – 1.54

Guinea – 2.75

Burundi – 17.00

Madagascar – 21.00

Group C:

Senegal – 1.62

Algeria – 2.30

Kenya – 17.00

Tanzania – 25.00

Group D:

Ivory Coast – 2.00

Morocco – 2.20

South Africa – 6.00

Namibia – 50.00

Group E:

Tunisia – 2.00

Mali – 2.10

Angola – 14.50

Mauritania – 17.00

Group F:

Ghana – 1.76

Cameroon – 2.30

Benin – 9.00

Source: Complete Sports

AFCON 2019: Group-By-Group Analysis; Cameroon Defend Title

The historic AFCON 2019 finals will get underway on Friday, June 21 with an unprecedented 24 countries participating. Completesports.com here presents an analysis of all the teams pooled in six groups. By Oluyemi Ogunseyin.

GROUP A: EGYPT, DR CONGO, UGANDA, ZIMBABWE

Egypt, the host nation of the biggest Africa Cup of Nations and most successful team in the competition will face a stiff competition in their effort to qualify from Group A and possibly win the trophy.

EGYPT

Egypt are without mincing words one of the favorites to win the competition. While the Pharaohs are only the eighth highest-ranked African nation by FIFA, the hosts are the most successful side in AFCON history.

They hold the record for most titles, having won seven while Cameroon have five. Egypt are also the only country to have won the crown three times on the trot from 2006 to 2010, joining Argentina and Mexico as the only nations to win their continental cup three consecutive times.

DR CONGO

DR Congo, ranked 46th in the world and fifth in Africa are searching for a third ACFON title. The Leopards have won it twice before but it should be noted that their last success was in 1974.

Since then, they have won bronze on two different occasions, once in 1998 and 2015 but crashed out of the quarter-finals in the last tournament.

UGANDA

Uganda will be making back-to-back AFCON appearances for the first time since 1978. Their qualification for the 2017 edition ended a 39-year absence from the competition but the Cranes exited in the group stage in Gabon.

They are yet to win the trophy before with their fourth-placed and second-placed finishes in 1962 and 1978 being their best-ever campaigns.

ZIMBABWE

The odds are stacked against Zimbabwe in Group A. This will be only their fourth AFCON appearance and they have failed to make it past the group stages in their three previous attempts.

Of the Warriors’ nine AFCON games, six ended in defeats and only two saw them emerge victorious. However, it should be noted that Zimbabwe beat Group A rivals, DR Congo to the number one spot in the qualifiers which will be a confidence booster.

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GROUP B: NIGERIA, GUINEA, MADAGASCAR, BURUNDI

Two debutantes and two household names will be squaring off in a group which could present some of the 2019 AFCON’s biggest upsets.

NIGERIA

Nigeria are three-time AFCON winners and will be making an 18th appearance in Egypt. The Super Eagles won their first title on home soil in 1980 and added the second at Tunisia 1994.

They secured their most recent title in 2013 following a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in the final in South Africa but failed to attend the last two editions. The West Africans have finished as runners-up on four occasions and won bronze medal seven times.

GUINEA

The Syli Nationale of Guinea have never won the AFCON despite featuring in 12 of the 31 editions held so far. Their best record at the competition came at Ethiopia 1976 when it finished as runners-up.

With the exception of the 2017 tournament held in Gabon, Guinea have made it to the quarter-finals in four recent editions (2004, 2006, 2008, 2015).

MADAGASCAR

Madagascar have never made an appearance at any of the previous editions of the AFCON. The 2019 finals in Egypt will be the very first of its kind for the Barea.

BURUNDI

Just like Madagascar, the Swallows of Burundi will also be making their debut at the AFCON 2019 finals in Egypt.

sadio-mane-teranga-lions-senegal-africa-cup-of-nations-egypt-2019-liverpool

GROUP C: SENEGAL, ALGERIA, KENYA, TANZANIA

The likes of top English Premier League players such as Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, and Victor Wanyama will battle it out in Group C for two spots in the knockout stage.

SENEGAL

Senegal do not boast the best of records at the AFCON. While the Lions of Teranga have long been a formidable side in Africa, they are yet to win the title. They came close in 2002, losing 3-2 on penalties to Cameroon in the final.

Besides, three fourth-placed finishes were all they could muster. Regardless, they topped their group in the qualifiers and are one of the favorites. Liverpool attacking ace, Mane and Co. are not ranked 23 in the world and number one in Africa for nothing.

ALGERIA

One-time AFCON champion, Algeria want a second title in Egypt. After a disastrous spell from 2014 to 2018 in which the national team hired and sacked five different coaches, things are now looking bright for the Fennecs.

The North Africans will be making their 18th AFCON appearance, just like Nigeria. Since lifting the title in 1990, Algeria have crashed out in the group stage five times, but will be looking to avoid a sixth embarrassment once the competition kicks off.

KENYA

This will be Kenya’s sixth appearance. All five of their previous attempts to make the knockout stage ended in failures. The Harambee Stars have won only one of the 14 AFCON games they have played, losing nine and drawing once.

In the qualifiers, they finished only two points behind Ghana, though and are hopeful of upsetting their more illustrious Group C rivals, Senegal and Algeria.

TANZANIA

This will be Tanzania’s first AFCON appearance since their debut campaign back 1980, an impressive task accomplish with their Nigerian coach and former Super Eagles winger, Emmanuel Amuneke. However, the Taifa Stars are the worst bet to advance from the group. They did not make it out of the group stage in their only previous appearance, losing two of the three games they played.

GROUP D: MOROCCO, COTE D’IVOIRE, SOUTH AFRICA, NAMIBIA

South Africa and Namibia will need to put in massive shifts to stand any chance whatsoever of making the knockout stage when they face two of the competition’s favorites, Morocco and Ivory Coast.

MOROCCO

Morocco will be making its 17th appearance at the AFCON finals in Egypt. The Atlas Lions’ best achievement was winning the 1976 edition. Since then, though, they have been runners-up and second-runners up on one occasion apiece, and have ended up in fourth place two times.

NAMIBIA

Namibia will be making only their third AFCON appearance. The Brave Warriors first qualified for the 1998 edition in Burkina Faso while their second appearance was in Ghana 2008. The Southern African nation, however, suffered elimination in the group stage on both occasions.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Bafana Bafana’s biggest-ever achievement in the AFCON finals was hosting and winning the 1996 edition. Two years later, they almost added another to their trophy cabinet but finished as runners-up in Burkina.

This was followed by a third-place finish in 2000. South Africa have qualified for the African championship on 10 occasions.

COTE D’IVOIRE

Ivory Coast have qualified for the AFCON a staggering 23 times. The Elephants have been champions on just two occasions, although they have reached the quarter-finals in six of the last seven editions of the tournament.

They have finished as runners-up twice, in third place on four occasions and in the fourth-place on two occasions as well.

afcon-2019-africa-cup-of-nations-egypt-2019-indomitable-lions-super-eagles-teranga-lions-pharaohs

GROUP E: TUNISIA, MALI, MAURITANIA, ANGOLA

On paper, at least, it looks like it will be likely Mali and Tunisia battling it out for top spot with Angola looking to have a say while Mauritania will only hope to get off the mark in their first ever tournament.

TUNISIA

The Carthage Eagles’ best result was winning their first and only to date AFCON title in 2004. They also earned a runners-up spot in 1965 and 1996. Arguably, Tunisia are among the most experienced sides in Egypt as they will be making their 19th appearance.

They will be hoping to improve on their performances from 2015 and 2017 during which they exited at the quarter-finals stage.

MALI

To date, Mali’s best ever AFCON finish was securing a runners-up berth in 1972 which was their debut. The Les Aigles also earned consecutive third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013 but failed to qualify from the group stage in their last two participations in 2015 and 2017.

This summer will be their 11th appearance and it will be very interesting to see if they can take advantage of a relatively easy group and avoid an early exit for the third straight time.

MAURITANIA

Mauritania will be featuring at their first ever AFCON finals, and they will again face familiar foes Angola who beat them to top spot in their qualification group.

The small nation will have high hopes in their debut AFCON but arguably with Tunisia and Mali in the same group, the odds are heavily stacked against them.

ANGOLA

Angola come into this competition as winners of Group I qualification. The Palancas Negras’ best result to date are two quarter-finals finishes in 2008 and 2010.

Having failed to qualify for the last two editions, Angola will be featuring for the eighth time after making their debut in 1996.

afcon-2019-africa-cup-of-nations-egypt-2019-indomitable-lions-super-eagles-teranga-lions-pharaohs

GROUP F: CAMEROON, GHANA, BENIN, GUINEA-BISSAU

Group F of Egypt 2019 presents another case of underdogs versus favorites. Guinea-Bissau and Benin will aim to upset defending champions, Cameroon and four-time winners, Ghana.

CAMEROON

Cameroon are the defending champion of the AFCON. The Indomitable Lions secured the title by defeating this year’s hosts, Egypt in the final of the previous edition in Gabon in 2017.

As a result, they took their trophy counts to five, having won the 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002 editions. Cameroon have qualified for the tournament 19 times, its first being in 1970 in Sudan.

Aside the five AFCON trophies won, the West African nation have finished as runners-up on two occasions, bronze medalists on one occasion and in fourth place once.

BENIN

Bar the upcoming finals in Egypt, Benin have qualified for the AFCON thrice. The Squirrels first-ever appearance was at Tunisia 2004 and was followed by Ghana 2008.

In 2010, they featured in the tournament successively for the first time in their history in Angola. Benin have never made it out of the group stage in any of their previous appearances.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Guinea-Bissau will be making a second AFCON appearance. The Djurtus made their debut in 2017 where they met Burkina Faso, Cameroon and host nation, Gabon in Group A. After managing just a point in the campaign, Guinea-Bissau were eliminated from the competition.

GHANA

Ghana are the third-most decorated team at the AFCON with four titles. The Black Stars won their first trophy when they debuted in 1963 and kept it in 1965. They won their third and fourth in 1978 and 1982 respectively.

Source: Complete Sports

Mikel Targets Third AFCON Finals Goal In 21st Appearance Vs Burundi

John Mikel Obi is set to play his 21st match in AFCON finals when the Super Eagles face newcomers, the Swallows of Burundi, in their first Group A clash of Egypt 2019 at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday, June 22, Completesports.com reports.

Mikel has scored two goals in the history of AFCON finals, and those were netted in 2-0 wins over Zimbabwe and Benin Republic at Egypt 2006 and Ghana 2008 respectively. And the Eagles captain will be raring to score his third goals in their Egypt 2019 opener.

The midfielder who is back in Nigeria’s national team for the first time since the Super Eagles crashed out of 2018 World Cup in Russia, will be eager to justify his high ratings at the 32nd AFCON finals.

Co-incidentally, though, the 32-year-old might end his international career in the same country, Egypt where he actually participated in his first ever AFCON finals back in 2006.

The Chelsea legend seems to have shifted focus on helping the Super Eagles win the 2019 AFCON, revealing he is “hungry” to a win a second Africa Cup of Nations trophy.

Mikel won his first AFVON winners’ medal six years (2013) ago in South Africa after helping Eagles to finish third in the 2006 and 2010 editions.

In Egypt, Mikel will lead a young team with majority of the players making their first AFCON finals appearance.

The former Chelsea star made his Eagles debut in August, 2005 against Libya and Egypt 2019 tournament may well be his last with the national team, according to the midfield veteran himself.

Three-time champions Nigeria are making her 18th AFCON finals appearance in Egypt. The Super Eagles won their first title on home soil in 1980 and added the second at Tunisia 1994.

Source: Complete Sports

Super Eagles To Hold Two Training Sessions Behind Closed Doors Ahead Burundi Clash

Super Eagles will hold two training sessions behind closed doors today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) as they intensify preparation ahead of their Saturday’s first Group B match against the Swallows of Burundi, reports Completesports.com.

The training sessions will hold at the sport pitch of Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria.

Gernot Rohr’s charges will take on the AFCON finals debutants at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on Saturday, June 22. Kick-off is 6pm Nigerian time.

” Our training sessions, today and tomorrow ahead of our #TotalAFCON2019 opener against Burundi, will hold at the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria from 5pm. Both sessions will be open for first 15 minutes only,” reads a tweet on the official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles on Thursday morning.

The Super Eagles are making it to the competition after missing out on the last two editions of the competition.

The West Africans claimed the title for the third time in their last appearance in South Africa, 2013.

The Syli Nationale of Guinea and Super Eagles will clash on June 26, before another AFCON finals debutants, the Barea of Madagascar, ambush the Gernot Rohr’s men on June 30.

Source: Complete Sports