The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is less than a couple of weeks away, and the organisers have denied all news of the postponement. The continent’s best teams will meet in Cameroon to decide who is worthy of the trophy from January 9 to February 6, despite all the doubts surrounding the Covid-19 situation.
Leicester’s match against Liverpool ripped through social media and the media. The main topic of the discussion was the author of the only goal, Ademola Lookman. People unfamiliar with the situation in the team began to blame Augustine Eguavoen for not taking the Leicester player to the tournament. But he hasn’t had that opportunity: Lookman isn’t cleared by FIFA yet. Lookman won the U-20 World Cup as an English National team player. But he wants to switch allegiance to Nigeria since his parents are from this country. Whether he can be a big help for the Super Eagles is hard to say, and you can test your intuition on the 21.co.uk after checking out all the features of this bookmaker in the review https://bookmaker-ratings.com/review/21-co-uk-bookmaker-review-rules-support-sign-up-free-bets-site/.
Another player who could miss the tournament for an objective reason is Watford’s player Emmanuel Dennis. The club’s head coach, Claudio Ranieri, is confident that the NFF did not send a ‘pre-call’ in time. Watford couldn’t prepare and find a potential replacement and therefore has every right not to let Emmanuel Dennis play alongside the Super Eagles at AFCON.
What else could affect the mood of the team and interim coach is the NFF’s decision to appoint Portuguese Jose Peseiro as head coach after the tournament. Such news can be both encouraging and confusing for the entire squad.
Either way, it’s better than a replacement just before AFCON. Spain already set a bad example at the 2018 World Cup when, after a controversy, Julen Lopetegui was sacked and changed for Fernando Hierro. Under new management team was knocked out on penalties by hosts Russia in the last 16.
The squad looks perfectly balanced with many players from different top leagues. The defence is close to impenetrable, as we will see Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Serge Aurier (Villarreal), and Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers). At the same time, young Amad Diallo (Manchester United) isn’t in the final squad.
The midfield is filled with exciting names from teams including Champions League participant Franck Kessie (AC Milan) and Europa League selection Ibrahim Sangare (PSV Eindhoven), and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (Lazio).
A slight disappointment for Ivory Coast was Crystal Palace’s decision to revoke Wilfried Zaha from the national team. Even though they have current Champions League top scorer Sebastien Haller (Ajax), the help of the national team veteran is always valuable.
This team might not look like the clear favourites, but their style of play and the quality of their players might soon surprise many. In addition, Morocco had many doubts about their line-up ahead of the tournament, which prevented the players from setting up their clubs calmly.
The most significant decision was waiting for Wolves player Romain Saiss, who is in terrific form. Thankfully, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has reached an agreement with the Premier League, and players in that EPL will travel to the AFCON starting January 3.
That means Saiss will not miss the match against Manchester United, while Salah, Mane, and Keita will play against Chelsea and peacefully move to their respective national teams afterwards.
Morocco, however, is not without losses. Hakim Ziyech will remain at the club and will not go to the tournament as decided by Vahid Halilhodzic, and Thomas Tuchel will be happy about that. Although aware of the 28-year-old winger’s talent and reasonable fitness, it’s hard to understand the motivation behind this move, which is clearly not football-related.