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The Africa Cup of Nations kicked off this Friday, June 21st in Egypt, and will continue until July 19th. Before this launch, the organization of a CAN had never been surrounded by so many complications. It was first Cameroon that was unable to meet the deadline, while the land of the Indomitable Lions had had five years to prepare. Faced with this situation, the African Football Confederation had to withdraw in Yaounde the organization of the competition – officially for delay in the delivery of the infrastructures in the places selected to host the competition.

Complaint of Comoros

In early January, Egypt is chosen as the organizer of the CAN 2019. At the same time, the Comoros file a complaint before the arbitration court of sport against the participation of Cameroon. Their argument: once removed from the organization of the CAN, this country should also see its participation invalidate. But the complaint of the archipelago fails.

Ägypten Kairo-Stadion (Ahmed Essam)

The competition opens on Friday 21 June in Cairo, with the match between Egypt and Zimbabwe

Finally, in early June, two weeks before the opening of the CAN, Ahmad Ahmad, president of the CAF, is arrested in his Paris hotel to be auditioned in the context of a corruption case. An arrest in the wake of the two-day meeting of a special commission to examine the catastrophic return match of the Champions League final between Espérance Sportive Tunis (Tunisia) and Wydad Casablanca (Morocco).

Kick-off in full turmoil

From 21 June to 19 July, 24 teams compete in six Egyptian stadiums. Three stadiums are in Cairo, and the other three in Alexandria, Ismailia and Suez. For the first time in its history, the CAN is held in summer. Under a high temperature, with nearly 30 degrees, it is a real challenge for participating teams, according to football specialist Zoubaier Baya. "Most of the players participating in the cup have already played more than 40 matches this season while those who play in Europe have already played about fifty "says the Tunisian international, who played for SC Freiburg and now works as an expert for Abu Dhabi sports.

Another novelty of this tournament is that 24 teams will participate in the final round. However, what Zoubaier Baya criticizes, who, in an interview with Deutsche Welle, thinks that this will compromise the quality of the matches. According to him, like the European championships, the third of the group could qualify for the round of 16.

But this new organization could also create surprises, as thought former Cameroonian striker and double champion of Africa (2000, 2002), Patrick Mboma. For him, "the nations, even the smallest, will go to the tournament with the idea of ​​going to the round of 16. Favorite nations are going to have to be serious and determined not to have to narrowly pass – or even fall flat – because everyone will have fangs. "

Egypt, Senegal and Morocco leave favorites

For many, the charm of the African Cup of Nations lies in the fact that one can not predict what will really happen. As an example, in 2017, Cameroon managed to win the cup with one of the weakest teams in recent history.

Today, Egypt, Senegal and Morocco are attracting attention. To believe Zoubaier Baya "as always, we can say that the local team is more likely than the others. It's a tradition. Egypt, with Mohamed Salah, the scale he has now, he is at the top. With the contribution of the Egyptian public, it can make two major forces for Egypt. " As the record winner of the African Cup, the Pharaohs certainly hope to add an eighth win to their record.

Senegal also seems convincing with its players. This is the case of central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who plays as central defender for SSC Napoli and Liverpool striker Sadio Mané. "Although Sadio Mané stands out in this team, he remains a player who works for his team. This increases the chances of Senegal", adds Zoubaier Baya.

As for Morocco, he can count on his international winger Hakim Ziyech, his other experienced players as well as his coach Hervé Renard.

The big surprises of the competition

Apart from the three favorite teams, there are a number of other teams that dream of the prestigious title. It is for example Cameroon, defending champion.

But you never know how things will unfold. According to Patrick Mboma "no one would have bet that Cameroon would win the Cup in 2017 until the Indomitable Lions win. Everyone thought the team would qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but that was not the case. We are waiting to see what coach coach Clarence Seedorf will give. "

Afrika Cup 2015 Kongo (AFP / Getty Images / CS de Souza)

Congolese fans hope a surprise from their team

For their part, Nigeria and Ghana could also play an important role in this tournament, "even if they are not stable at the momentZoubaier Baya, for whom Algeria too, could be surprised, but Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi, although still young, is very competent and many Algerian team players had a very good experience. season, like Baghdad Boudjenah or Sofiane Feghouli, double title with his club Galatasaray.

Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo could seize their chance as an outsider and talk about them. The most important is how these teams will take this chance from the start of the competition. Because this is what the audience wants: forget the many scandals and show that Africa has something to offer in football.

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