2015 AFCON Qualifers Preview

With club football on hold, the 2015 AFCON qualifiers return this week with some cracking encounters in store. The qualifiers for next year’s showpiece draws near a critical period that will decide the fate of several teams. While some of Africa’s elite fight for top spot in their respective groups, others will be desperate to qualify no matter how they do it, but beware of the ticket spoilers who play for pride. There’s money to be made and I’ve got a good feeling about this.

Malawi 15/10 draw 21/10 Mali 7/4
Both Malawi and Mali will be looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats last time out and fight for the second spot in Group B with leaders Algeria far and away the best team. Malawi are coming off a 3-0 loss away to Algeria while Mali were overpowered 3-2 at home to Ethiopia. Mali have won two matches with two draws and are three points ahead of their opponents who have won just once while suffering three defeats. Mali beat Malawi 2-0 in their opening match of the group and are tipped to come away with three valuable points.

Algeria 2/9 draw 43/10 Ethiopia 11/1
Group B leaders Algeria will be hoping to register a second win against Ethiopia and secure their spot in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations when the sides clash on Saturday. Africa’s standout team in the 2014 World Cup have continued to impress by being head and shoulders above the rest in their group, winning all four matches. Despite an impressive 3-2 away win over Mali, Ethiopia have struggled, losing their first three matches. The Walias are in desperate need of a win to keep their chances of qualification alive but they may be fighting a losing battle against The Desert Foxes. Algeria are a banker bet for me.

Group C

Lesotho 28/10 draw 21/10 Burkina Faso 1/1
Burkina Faso travel to Setsoto Stadium to take on strugglers Lesotho on Saturday hoping to strengthen their position in Group C. Burkina Faso have won two matches and have only dropped points against group leaders Gabon - losing 2-0 and drawing 1-1 - in four matches played. Lesotho have been below par and are yet to register a win with two draws and two losses and are fourth in the group with just two points. Burkina Faso are tipped to oust their opponents at 1/1.

Angola 17/20 draw 9/4 Gabon 32/10
High-flying Gabon will be looking to strengthen their hold on the Group C leadership when they take on Angola. Angola recorded their first win in the group against Lesotho, courtesy of a 4-0 thrashing and desperately need a victory to keep their hopes of qualification alive. It won’t come easy as they come up against a Gabon side growing in confidence. Gabon are unbeaten in their opening four matches, with two wins and two draws and are four points ahead of their opponents. The match could prove to be a tight affair and Gabon are tipped to win or draw on the double chance market at 15/20.

Group D

Sierra Leone 12/1 draw 6/1 Ivory Coast 1/6
Ivory Coast will be expected to get back to winning ways when they take on a struggling Sierra Leone side on Friday night. Ivory Coast’s hopes of qualification hang in the balance as The Elephants suffered a shock 4-3 loss at home to DR Congo. The Ivorian’s are yet to find their rhythm in the competition and will be pleased to come up against the group’s ‘whipping boys’. Sierra Leone have been dreadful, losing three matches and drawing just once and should struggle to match their headstrong opponents. Ivory Coast have a plethora of weapons in their attack with the likes of Yaya Toure, Wilfred Bony and Gervinho leading a lethal team that is superior to Sierra Leone in all departments. Take Ivory Coast to win and add it to your multiples.  

Cameroon 6/10 draw 27/10 DR Congo 9/2
Group D leaders Cameroon host DR Congo on Saturday looking to secure their spot in the 2015 AFCON. Cameroon have been outstanding winning three matches with one draw coming away to Sierra Leone, scoring eight goals while conceding just one. DR Congo have been inconsistent with two wins and two losses and are currently on six points, tied with Ivory Coast. With Ivory Coast expected to beat Sierra Leone, DR Congo know that they have to go all out for the win but that could prove to be too difficult as Cameroon are tough to beat at home. I’m expecting a tight affair with Cameroon to edge it at 6/10.

Group E

Uganda 19/10 draw 2/1 Ghana 29/20
The Black Stars will travel to face Uganda eyeing a win to secure their qualification ticket. Uganda have won just one of their four victories, losing two and drawing once while Ghana are unbeaten with two wins and two draws. Uganda have a defensive minded approach and should have enough to deal with Ghana’s understrength attack due to injuries to the influential pair of Asamoah Gyan and Kwadwo Asamoah. However, The Cranes do lack firepower upfront having scored just three times but should hold Ghana to a commendable draw.

Togo 17/20 draw 9/4 Guinea 32/10
Togo will look to avenge their 2-1 defeat at Guinea when the teams reconvene in Lome on Saturday afternoon. Togo have struggled for consistency having won two matches while suffering two defeats and are just two points ahead of their opponents. Guinea’s only victory in the group was against Togo and they did well to hold Ghana to a 1-1 draw at home. However, they have struggled on the road and Togo are tipped to capitalize on home advantage.

Group F

Mozambique 14/10 draw 21/10 Zambia 19/10
Zambia travel to Maputo to take on Mozambique on Saturday in a highly competitive fixture as both sides battle for second spot with Cape Verde far ahead in first position. Zambia have recorded just one victory with two draws and one defeat in their four games played and Mozambique lie three points behind them having played a game less, with two draws and one defeat. These sides cancelled each other out in the opening match and the draw looks the likely result.

Cape Verde 5/10 draw 29/10 Niger 54/10
It’s top versus bottom as Group F leaders Cape Verde host Niger on Saturday seeking a win to secure qualification for the 2015 AFCON. Cape Verde have been outstanding, winning all three of their matches, scoring six goals while conceding just two. Niger are yet to register a win with two losses and two draws and have scored just two goals while conceding seven. Cape Verde beat Niger 3-1 away from home early September and should win quite comfortably at home. Cape Verde are a banker bet.

Group G

Botswana 38/10 draw 24/10 Tunisia 15/20
Group G leaders Tunisia travel to Gaborone on Friday to take on a shambolic Botswana side who will be playing for nothing more than pride as they have no chance of qualifying for AFCON 2015. The Zebras have lost all four of their matches, scoring just once while conceding eight goals, showing their defensive frailties. Tunisia have been outstanding, winning three matches, including a 2-1 win over Botswana in Monastir and held Senegal to a hard-fought 0-0 draw away. Botswana are struggling to score goals and are conceding goals too cheaply and I expect a clinical Tunisia attack to take full advantage of that. Back the away win at 15/20.

Egypt 5/4 draw 2/1 Senegal 22/10
African giants Egypt and Senegal lock horns in Cairo on Saturday in another cracking AFCON qualifier. Both sides will battle it out for second place with Tunisia destined to top group G and there is every chance we will see an entertaining encounter. The hosts have been inconsistent winning two matches and drawing two, while The Lions of Teranga have lost once, winning twice and drawing one. Senegal won the reverse fixture 2-0 at home but could struggle to repeat that feat as Egypt are a strong team when playing at home. The Pharaohs have attacking firepower at their disposal with the likes of Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah leading their line and have also called up their domestic league’s top scorer Arafa El-Sayed who has already scored nine goals, including two hat-tricks, and will add ferocity to The Pharaohs attack. Egypt are tipped to make home advantage count at 5/4.

Written By Chadley Nagel

Chad's Picks
Mali WIN 7/4
Algeria WIN 2/9
Burkina Faso WIN 1/1
Gabon WIN/DRAW 15/20
Ivory Coast WIN 1/6
Cameroon WIN 6/10
Uganda DRAW 2/1
Togo WIN 17/20
Mozambique DRAW 21/10
Cape Verde WIN 5/10
Tunisia WIN 15/20
Egypt WIN 5/4