In the curtain raiser for the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations, host nation Ivory Coast squares off against Guinea Bissau at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe on the 13th of January. The match promises to set the tone for what will be an exciting tournament as Africa’s best go to-to-toe for continental glory!

To win (90 min)
Ivory Coast 2/9
Draw 39/10
Guinea Bissau 13/1


The Elephants of Ivory Coast have a rich history in the AFCON and are making their 25th appearance at the tournament and have gone on to claim the prestigious title twice. However, recent outings have seen them fall short of the glory days, couple that with home advantage, and there is added pressure on this star-studded squad to reclaim their spot as Africa’s best.

During the qualifying stages of the tournament, the host nation scored seven of their nine goals on home soil, indicative that it could be more of the same here. Ibrahim Sangare was directly involved in four of those nine team goals, scoring three and assisting one. With that being said,  the hosts could look to the experienced Serge Aurier and the dynamic Nicolas Pepe who will cause damage on the wing.

Borussia Dortmund hitman, Sebastien Haller, was on target as Ivory Coast smashed the Seychelles 11 nil during their recent FIFA World Cup qualifier. That dominant performance will surely set the tone early during the group stage clash as they turn their attention to Guinea Bissau.


It goes without saying, but Guinea Bissau come into this clash as the underdogs. The Djurtus made it to this year’s tournament in an impressive second place in the qualifying group that also contained fellow Group A outfit Nigeria.

A key player that they will rely on is 19-year-old Franculino Dju who is lighting up the Danish Super Liga with 14 goals and two assists for table-topping Midtjylland this season. The teenager did find the back during the AFCON qualifiers, doing so in his only appearance. He will have his work cut out for him in this one as he looks to get his nation off on the right foot.


With Ivory Coast churning out strong results on home soil, they could just go all the way at this edition of AFCON. They will have to battle it out against some of the continents finest, but with a star studded squad, they should get their campaign off to a flyer in this one.

Written by Nigel Naicker