The Africa Cup of Nations begins with the Cameroon-Burkina Faso meeting on Sunday at 5 p.m. Scheduled for last summer, the Africa Cup of Nations has been postponed until this winter due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore a messed up edition, in the middle of the European championship season, which starts on Sunday January 9 in Cameroon. Despite this delay in ignition and preparations truncated by outbreaks of Covid in certain selections (especially Gabon), the plateau is enticing. Franceinfo gives you the key information to enjoy the competition until the final, scheduled for February 6. Algeria and Senegal in scarecrows Until proven otherwise, taking the best characters from a series is the best recipe for success the following season. Already at the top of African football during the previous CAN (with a final won by the Fennecs in 2019), Algeria and Senegal again constitute the tandem of favorites. Crowned with a recent success in the Arab Nations Cup, the Algerians qualified without a hitch for this CAN (4 successes, 2 draws). The group is rather affordable (Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone), but things should get tough in stride: Nigeria, Egypt or Tunisia are potential opponents from the eighth. The backbone of the African champion selection has not changed, with beautiful names like Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan), Saïd Benrahma (West Ham) or Islam Slimani (Lyon). All led, of course, by a dazzlingly fit Riyad Mahrez at Manchester City. His left paw, preponderant in the success of 2019, concentrates most of the hopes of the Algerian people. Riyad Mahrez, here after the CAN 2019 final in Egypt, will be the spearhead of the Fennecs for this new edition. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP) Driven by a feeling of revenge, Senegal arguably has the most impressive team on paper. It’s simple, the Teranga Lions field players of international caliber on all levels. Mixture, Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Kalidou Koulibaly (Naples), Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gueye (PSG), Sadio Mané (Liverpool) or Bouna Sarr (Bayern) make up the Senegalese paraphernalia. Despite these big names, the selection of Aliou Cissé has often disappointed. Quarter-finalist of CAN 2017, eliminated from the pools of the 2018 World Cup, and therefore finalist of CAN 2019, Senegal has never lifted the slightest trophy. For the coach, the goal is assumed: “that this generation brings its first CAN in Senegal”. And this, even if three players and six members of the management are in isolation because of the Covid-19 … Cameroon, a revenge organizer Eight years after its designation as host of the CAN, Cameroon is preparing finally to welcome the competition. Scheduled for 2019, the organization had been withdrawn due to a delay in the construction of infrastructure. An event for the country, more host of such a party since 1972. The Cameroonian public is delighted, especially as a gauge of 80% in the stadiums has been set for the meetings of the Indomitable Lions (against 60% for other matches). The Indomitable Lions are ready to roar # TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | # AFCON2021 | @FecafootOfficie pic.twitter.com/F4I62eKHwx – CAF – FR (@caf_online_FR) January 6, 2022 Even without a real international star, Cameroonians keep their arguments. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa carbides in Naples, Karl Toko-Ekambi scores with Lyon and goalkeeper André Onana (Ajax) is back after a one-year suspension for doping. African champions in 2017 but only eighth finalist in 2019, the Indomitable Lions have revenge to take. Their positive dynamics (qualification for the World Cup play-offs in front of Côte d’Ivoire) as well as the affordable draw (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde) encourage optimism. Morocco, Ivory Coast, Tunisia … Outsiders on the lookout As is often the case in Africa, the picture is very open. Apart from the big favorites, several selections intend to succeed. Starting with Morocco, led by Vahid Halilhodzic and a talented generation (Hakimi, Bounou, En-Nesyri …). But the Atlas Lions remain on two disappointments at the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 CAN, and the offensive star Hakim Ziyech, shunned by “coach Vahid”, is not on the trip. This TEAM pic.twitter.com/eYPcFnbTaR – Morocco team (@EnMaroc) January 2, 2022 Semi-finalist in 2019 and finalist of the last Arab Cup, Tunisia is one of the contenders. The Eagles of Carthage have a good chance to play and will cross the road of Mali from the hens. Less often cited because of its lack of a major icon, the Malian selection is based on a formidable collective and an iron defense (no goal conceded in qualifying for the World Cup). This clash will be expensive: the winner will be entitled to a duel against Algeria or Côte d’Ivoire in the eighth. In reconstruction since their final victory in 2015, the Ivorians still have good individualities (Kessié, Bailly, Zaha, Pépé). Even deprived of Seko Fofana remained in Lens and eliminated from the race at the World Cup, the Elephants will try to deceive unfavorable forecasts. The same goes for Nigerians often placed but disturbed by the departure of coach Gernot Rohr before the competition. The Super Eagles, also orphaned by their striker Victor Osimhen, are not at their best. But their talent pool (Ndidi, Iwobi, Simon) can take them far. Mohamed Salah, will the “best player in the world” guide Egypt? This is nothing new, African football is full of talent. Three of them, by their notoriety and their performances in the Premier League, stand out. If Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) will lead favorite selections, the case of Mohamed Salah is a little more complex. The Egyptian winger walks the water at Liverpool, with 23 goals in 26 games in all competitions this season. His coach Carlos Queiroz even considers him “the best player in the world”. Yes, but “Mo” Salah is often left to his own devices in selection. الطريق مش سهل بس احنا هنحارب علشان نرجع بالكاس. خليكوا في ظهرنا # شجع_مصر pic.twitter.com/1jiN4yToJ0 – Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) January 5, 2022 Despite stratospheric individual performances (43 goals in 73 caps), he never led too irregular Pharaohs to final victory . Finalist in 2017, Egypt remains on a traumatic elimination at home from the eighth of the last CAN. Placed in the group of Nigeria, the selection could find Algeria or Côte d’Ivoire from the eighth if it finishes second. But beware, history has often shown that you should never bury the Pharaohs (sacred six times) too quickly. Even in a sarcophagus … How and when to follow the CAN? If you followed the last Euro, the operation of this CAN will seem familiar to you. The format is indeed similar: the twenty-four qualified are divided into six groups of four selections. The first two of each group advance directly to the round of 16, along with the four best thirds. In other words, you will have to take out the calculator after the third day to determine the final table. In France, the competition is broadcast on beIN Sports. The specialized channel, holder of the rights to the competition since 2017, will broadcast all the meetings on its various channels. Every day, or almost, for a month, meetings will be held at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Starting on Sunday (5 p.m.), with the opening match between Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
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