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By The Atlas Lions, Jun 16 2019 12:56PM


By AFP


The assumption is that former champions the Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa will wage a private war in Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations with Namibia helpless onlookers.


But Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti questions that belief ahead of the June 21-July 19 tournament in Egypt.


"I would like to remind the big boys that even small dogs have teeth," warned the former national team midfielder.


Namibia have met all their Group D rivals before at the Cup of Nations without success -- conceding five goals against Morocco and four each against the Ivory Coast and South Africa.


Here, AFP Sport looks at a group considered the strongest of the six in the first round with only the winners and runners-up guaranteed round-of-16 places


Ivory Coast


The Ivorians experienced ecstasy and agony in the last two editions, winning the 2015 final in Equatorial Guinea and crashing out after the first round two years ago in Gabon.


It is difficult to fathom how the class of 2019 will fare except to note that they have an attack that many rivals must envy.


Only French superstar Kylian Mbappe scored more Ligue 1 goals last season than Nicolas Pepe and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has tormented many Premier League defenders.


Coach Ibrahim Kamara will also be encouraged by the form of clubless Wilfried Bony, a 2015 Cup of Nations winner who bagged a brace in a recent warm-up match.


Verdict: Probable quarter-finalists; possible semi-finalists


Morocco


The pressure is on the Cup of Nations coach with the winning touch, Frenchman Herve Renard, to bring the trophy back to Morocco after a 43-year absence.


Morocco finished first ahead of Guinea in 1976 in the only Cup of Nations decided exclusively by groups, but have reached only one final since, losing to 2004 hosts Tunisia.


Renard is the only coach to win the Cup of Nations with different countries, leading outsiders Zambia to glory in 2012 and repeating the feat with underachieving Ivory Coast three years later.


He has retained most of the squad that impressed at the World Cup last year without managing a win and Ajax Amsterdam winger Hakim Ziyech is among those on whom he will rely.


Verdict: Likely finals include Morocco against Egypt


Namibia


Unlike Kamara, Renard and South Africa coach Stuart Baxter, there is no pressure on Mannetti, who admits his team are lucky just to be in Egypt.


Trounced 4-1 by Zambia in the final qualifying round, the Brave Warriors made it because leaders Guinea-Bissau snatched a stoppage-time draw to deprive Mozambique of second place.


At least Mannetti knows what to expect as Namibia have conceded 13 goals in Cup of Nations matches against the Ivorians, Moroccans and South Africans.


"We do not expect to win the competition, but we need to qualify more often," says the coach. "Once every 10 years or so is not going to get us anywhere."


Verdict: it would be a sensation if they survived first round


South Africa


South Africa go to Egypt as one of the most unpredictable teams.


Bafana Bafana scaled the heights at the outset of 2019 qualifying by winning 2-0 in Nigeria, then sank into mediocrity by drawing 0-0 away to lowly ranked Seychelles.


England-born Baxter blamed the pitch in the Seychelles for the failure to score -- the same surface where Libya netted eight times.


Much will depend on the form of wide attacker Percy Tau, who was loaned to a Belgian second division club last season after signing for Premier League outfit Brighton.


Verdict: Anything is possible with Bafana

By The Atlas Lions, May 21 2019 06:33PM



Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits ), Ronwen Williams (Supersport), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs).


Defenders: Daniel Cardoso (Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Sundowns), Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Pirates), S’Fiso Hlanti (Wits ), Buhle Mkhawanazi (Wits), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City ).


Midfielder: Bongani Zungu (Amiens), Hlompho Kekana (Downs), Dean Furman (SS), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford), Tiyani Mabunda (Downs), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Themba Zwane (Downs), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg), Ben Motshwari (Pirates), Keagan Dolly


Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal St Union), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam), Lebogang Maboe (Downs), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Downs), Kermit Erasmus (CT City)

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 12 2019 08:44PM


#TotalAFCON2019 games for #Morocco revealed


2⃣3⃣ June 2019

🇲🇦 🆚 🇳🇦

Stadium: Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

🕟 14h30 GMT


2⃣8⃣ June 2019

🇲🇦 🆚 🇨🇮

Stadium: Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

🕖 17h00 GMT


1⃣ July 2019

🇿🇦 🆚 🇲🇦

Stadium: Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

🕓 16h00 GMT



By The Atlas Lions, Dec 10 2018 05:38PM

(BBC Sports) The Confederation of African Football's (Caf) executive committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on 9 January to choose new hosts for the 2019 Nations Cup.


Caf is looking for a new venue for the continental tournament after it stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights due to a lack of progress with preparations.


Countries have until 2200GMT on 14 December to submit official bids to host the 24-team tournament which begins in June next year.


Despite reports of interest from Morocco and Congo-Brazzaville no-one has made an official declaration of interest to host the event.


The South Africa Football Association (Safa) is planning a meeting with country's sports minister Tokozile Xasa on Tuesday in order to make a decision on making a bid.


Xasa has expressed an interest in South Africa hosting the event for a third time but admitted she needed more details from Safe before finalising the offer.


By The Atlas Lions, Dec 6 2018 02:23PM

December 6 – The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has pulled out of the bidding race for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, saying it “will not compete with another Arabic country.” Morocco and South Africa remain as favourites to host the continent’s flagship competition.


Last week Cameroon were stripped of the tournament’s hosting rights over delays in preparations. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad revealed that the confederation would strive to “determine a new organising country by the end of the year.”


Egypt, Morocco and South Africa soon stepped forwards as potential hosts for the 24-team event. Cameroon, who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final, had been awarded the 16-team finals, but CAF then unilaterally increased the number of participants in July 2017 to 24 teams during a symposium held in Morocco.


EFA will however not bid to stage the tournament. “After an EFA meeting on Tuesday, we decided we will not make a bid for the next Afcon,” said EFA board member and spokesman Ahmed Megahed. “We will not compete with another Arabic country – this is an official decision.”


The decision leaves Morocco and South Africa, who have both confirmed an interest in hosting, as two remaining contenders in the bidding race. Egypt last hosted the tournament in 2006 when they won on home soil.


Earlier this year the Moroccans had stepped in to host the African Nations Championship, CHAN, after Kenya had been deemed unfit to host the tournament. Morocco, with their team of home-based players, won the tournament, which was largely considered a success. In June Morocco, however, lost out to the United States, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup hosting rights. It was the fourth time that the Moroccans had their World Cup dream thwarted.



By The Atlas Lions, Dec 1 2018 09:13PM

(Goal.com) South African Football's mother body has explained to Goal why hosting the Afcon is difficult, but they might reconsider with incentives


The South Africa Football Association (Safa) has responded to reports that they could be in line to host the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


On Friday, Caf confirmed its decision to strip Cameroon of hosting rights ahead of the showpiece event after it was deemed that they would not be ready in time for the event.


This immediately sent speculation into overdrive that Morocco, Egypt and South Africa could step in at the last minute to take over as hosts.


Nonetheless, Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi has spoken to Goal about the possibility of hosting the event.


“We also seen those reports and don’t forget that the Safa president is also an executive member of Caf,” Chimhavi told Goal on Saturday.


“But as things stand, our position is that we need liaise with the minister, we need to liaise with Caf themselves, because the short space of time, the bidding process is going to be changed.


“So, we want to find out what are the bidding processes,” he added.


While Chimhavi admits that South Africa are in an ideal position to host the Afcon, he has revealed that Safa’s financial woes may prove to be a stumbling block.


So, as things stand are we interested in hosting the Africa Cup of Nations 2019,?" Chimhavi quizzed.


“With our financial situation no,” an honest Chimhavi revealed.


“But if Caf comes up with certain incentives to say we are going to look after everything and we just provide the venue, I think we can host,” he said.


“Our financial situation doesn’t allow us to host. But we also have to talk to the government, so at the moment nothing has been decided as yet,” Safa’s spokesperson stated.


“We will see what Caf comes with and we will also liaise with government to see if they are interested in bankrolling this project. But you know in recent times the government has been saying, we need to exercise the tightening of the belt,” he continued.


“We have the capacity. South Africa is the only country that can host the event tomorrow. We have the capacity to host a 24-team Africa Cup of Nations, but as I say, the financial unfitness might put to bed any attempt because we don’t have the money,” he concluded.

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