The Group C of the Africa Cup of Nations consists of the tournament defending champions Ivory Coast, 1976 champions Morocco, two time AFCON winners DR Congo, and Togo who will be making their 8th AFCON appearance.
Ivory Coast and DR Congo are the most successful AFCON side in this group with 2 tittle appease, and 22 and18 appearance respectively. However, Morocco seems like a rejuvenated side under the tutelage of AFCON winning Manager “Herve Renard”. Togo on the other hand are the little team in the group, haven qualified for the tournament as one the second placed team.
Morocco enjoyed an easy ride to the Group stage of the competition, the Atlas Lion will be making their 16th AFCON appearance, and their first appearance since the 2013 edition in South Africa. However, the North Africa side under an AFCON winning boss have gone and enjoyed great restructuring, the result that was evident in their qualification results.
Morocco boss Herve Renard have named a very strong side, which consist over 90% foreign based players. Moreover, top guns like Southampton Midfielder Sofiane Boufal, Monaco defender Nabil Dirar, their qualification phase top scorer Youssef El-Arabi. Even with their recent ranking in Africa i.e. 10th. I still believe the Atlas Lion will finish top of the log, considering their qualification performance, and their tactician going into this tournament.
- Group Prediction: 1st
- Key Player: Sofiane Boufal (Southampton, England).
Ivory Coast ae the tournament defending champions, haven won the last edition in Equatorial Guinea. The peoples’ Elephant scooped their 2nd AFCON tittle, ending their 23 wait for the tittle. Ivory Coast is currently ranked 2nd in Africa going into this tittle, and are the highest ranked team in Group C.
Ivory Coast boss Michel Dussuyer named a very strong side with over 95% foreign names; the squad is inclusive of new Ivory Coast international Zaha Wilfried, big guns like Wilfried Bony, Serey Die, Serge Aurier, Salomon Kalou, Eric Bailly, Lamine kone, Jonathan Kodjia, and may other trusted talent. Moreover, Michel Dussuyer only called up one local based player in the person of Goal keeper Badra Snagare, who ply is trade with Ivory Coast Ligue 1 side As Tanda.
Though the Ivorian were less convincing during the qualification phase, getting just one win in their group of 3. However, i expect them to qualify as the next phase of the tournament.
- Group Prediction: 2nd
- Key Player: Zaha Wilfried (Crystal Palace, England).
Democratic Republic of Congo will be making their 18th AFCON appearance in Gabon. The Leopards are the raining Chan champions- another form AFCON basically organised for players plying their club trade in Africa. Dr Congo are currently ranked 6th in Africa, and ar 2 times champions of the tournament; first in the 1968 edition in Ethiopia, and secondly, in the 1974 edition in Egypt. Moreover, the Leopard were called different names in this two tittle winning edition.
Dr Cong boss Florent Ibenge named an over 85% foreign based squad with household names like Dieumerci Mbokani, Cedric Bakambu, Chancel Mbemba, and host of other. Florent Ibenge also called 5 home based player, players who ply their trade with current Caf Confederation cup winner Tp Mazembe, and one of Africa biggest club side As Vita.
In the last edition at Equatorial Guinea, the leopards finished in at the 3rd place; a performance that was their highest fit since the 1998 edition in Burkina Faso. The leopard are a very compact side whom I think somehow find themselves in an unlucky group that will make qualification to the next phase difficult.
- Group Prediction: 3rd
- Key Player: Cedric Bakambu(Villarreal, Spain)
Togo was one of the 2 lucky teams that got the remaining two AFCON spot. The Sparrow hawk of Togo will be making their 8th AFCON appearance, and first appearance since the 2013 edition in South Africa. The Togolese are the only team in this group without an AFCON tittle, and also ranked 23rd in Africa; the lowest ranked team in Group C.
Togo boss Claude Leroy named two unattached players for the competition in Gabon; former Metz shot stopper Kossi Agassa, and former Crystal forward Emmauel Adebayor are been named with 23 man team. Claude Leroy have a tough task of guiding the hawks out of the group stage for the 2nd time in their 8 AFCON appearances.
- Group Prediction: 4th
- Key Player: Emmanuel Adebayor
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