Figuratively speaking, Cameroon can put their feet up during these kinds of international breaks. The qualifying stages of the African Cup of Nations don’t concern them, the only team to have secured their place at the finals.
Originally set to host the 2019 tournament, a range of massive problems led to Cameroon being stripped of their rights. To soften the blow, they were handed the hosting duties for 2021 (which is actually taking place in January 2022 because of Covid-19, etc.). Other countries can only look on in envy. From the outside looking in, it may appear as though there is a huge disparity between the best teams in Africa and the opponents that they face in the qualifying rounds of tournaments. This is not true and the likes of Nigeria can attest to it. Winners of the 2013 competition, they would have been among the favourites to retain their trophy in 2015. However, they couldn’t defend it because they didn’t qualify. 2017 brought no redemption or relief, they missed out on that too, finally ending their time in the wilderness by reaching the 2019 competition. Nigeria isn’t the only big nation to miss out on the continental competition but it is probably the most high-profile. This time around, however, it looks as though they will make it to the finals.
The Super Eagles sit atop Group L ahead of Benin, Lesotho, and Sierra Leone respectively. Two matches have been played thus far with Nigeria taking maximum points ahead of their contest with the winless SL. Fellow giants Ivory Coast aren’t faring too well in Group K. They sit third behind Madagascar and Ethiopia after picking up one win from their opening two matches, losing the other. Egypt, another AFCON heavyweight, made a slow start to the qualifying campaign. Two draws from their opening matches puts them third in Group G behind surprise leaders Comoros and Kenya. Angola, a country that finished third in their World Cup group back in 2006, has fallen on hard times and currently anchors Group D after two defeats from the off.
How teams fare in the qualifying stages will be reflected in bookmakers’ odds for them to win the competition. The Sadio Mane-inspired Senegal could be early frontrunners after winning their opening three matches in Group I. Bar a disaster, they should reach the finals with ease. Ghana, replete with Premier League stars like Thomas Partey and Jordan Ayew, are also storming to the finals, their opening two victories giving them a leading position in Group C. Yet we should also look beyond the continental giants at countries that look primed to win a first AFCON. Guinea, leaders of Group A, finished as runners-up in 1976. Mauritiana, leaders of Group E, only reached their first finals last time out. There are plenty of surprises available to take advantage of. Bookmakers like Bet365 offer customers great odds on AFCON and websites like Wincomparator show the best promotions that websites like Bet365 have to offer. Their latest Bet365 review (Bet365 Promo Code: Bet Credits. Promotions November 2020) makes it easy to join up and receive bet credits for doing it. These credits can be spent on any market you wish, including AFCON football.