Tunisia Football Updates
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Another tough group, which features Côte d'Ivoire , Mali, Cameroon and Guinea. Two sides that have the potential to lift the crown are among the four in this group and are likely to progress. The group also features two stalwarts of the game that once shared the field together for one of the best sides in the world. Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure, for Barcelona are possibly the best midfielders to ever play football from Africa. How does group D look?

Africa Cup of Nations [Image by Theo's Little Bot]
Ivory Coast

They are the favorites in the last four or five tournaments to no avail. They fail to get it together and produce the required performance. What is so different this year is they do not have Didier Drogba but have the four times African player of the year on their side and one of the best midfielders in the world. Yaya Toure. They stuttered into the tournament and never looked convincing once. With Wilfried Bony who has found it easier to score for Swansea than for his country taking over from Didier Drogba the Elephants will struggle unless the rejuvenated German based forward Salomon Kalou has one last hurrah. An unconvincing win over a Nigerian side that had local based players confirms their inability and shortcomings to be Africa's best. Serge Aurier and Kolo Toure will need to be on their best if Ivory Coast are to survive. They will do well to make it to second in the group.
Will need to make a miraculous improvement, adapt and make the final.

Cameroon

Finished top in a group with the Ivory Coast, including thrashing the Ivorians 4-1. They are one of the favorites of the tournament. With a well balanced squad, a brilliant coach and prolific strikers what could stop them from surging through. Cameron were dealt a blow when they got news of Alex Song's retirement from international football. They rarely played the West ham midfielder since the World Cup despite his fine performance and now they know he is out of reach. With Stephane M'bia, who will captain the four time winners, and will anchor the midfielder their foundation is well grounded. He will be assisted with proven finishers in Clinton N'Jie and Vincent Aboubakar. The Indomitable Lions, roar again. They are among favorites to win the tournament.

Guinea

Drawn in a tricky group during qualifiers, Guinea emerged with some impressive displays. They managed to finish strong by comprehensively beating Togo and Uganda. Finishing second behind Ghana, they face a tougher task as they look to overcome three former champions. The side do boast a prolific goal scorer in Seydouba Souma who plays for Slovan Bratislava . The Forward cum Midfielder bagged a hat trick when the side thumped Togo. His versatility allows his coach to deploy him in the midfield if need be and allow Mohamed Yatta to lead the line. With a workaholic midfield, a shaky defense and strikers that know how to find the back of the net the side will be able to put in a performance if the ball rolls well into their path.
Tough task to progress, a dark horse and will do well to pip Mali to third. The strikers will be a joy to watch.

Mali

They are Dark horses, led by Captain Seydou Keita. The AS Roma midfielder has resurrected his career in Italy and has been top class. The Mali captain is also, the country's top goal scorer with 24 goals, and has the most caps. Should Mali progress from the group he will get his 100th cap in the tournament this year. It will be on Keita whether the team progress or not. From the creativity side of the team to the goal scoring department the Roma man will have to take it upon him. Mali are goal shy with the squad lacking many goal scorers besides the captain. Their midfield will need to pitch in with some strikes and the defense must shore up a bit. They have managed to finish third in the last two campaigns at the tournament. Winning mentality. Remember 2010? Down 4-0 with 11 minutes to play, the Eagles stormed back to end the game at 4-4! Fighters...
Fancy them to battle Ivory Coast for that second spot.

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

That group no one wants to be in: Four former champions South Africa, Algeria, Senegal and Ghana. The group of death which will see two quality sides depart early with nothing. The stakes are raised, and they must all hit the ground running. With affairs off the field likely to be more telling on how the group will look like at the end. Let's look at the four teams:

Africa Cup of Nations [Image by Theo's Little Bot]
South Africa

After years of underperforming, overpaying coaches that never delivered and an over reliance on stars that were past their prime, something had to change. The former Under 23 mentor who is in his second spell as Bafana Bafana coach hit the ground running as he topped the qualifying group which saw South Africa knock out Nigeria. The team has had a resurgence in the last few months which was also entwined recently with having to also deal with the passing of captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. A well balanced squad, which may have one weakness, the inexperienced shot stoppers. Up front Tokelo Rantie will have lots to prove in front of goal; not just for the Bafana fans but the Bournemouth fans. The attacker will be in the company of Kaizer Chiefs' Bernard Parker.
Bafana Bafana have a very good chance of progressing, and will need to take their chances and maintain their defensive discipline. They will battle with Senegal to edge that second or third spot.

Ghana

Five tournament debutants and a new coach in Avram Grant leaves the Black Stars in unfamiliar territory. Many a time, we have seen quality coaches fail on the big African stage. How will the Israelite fare? Without the troublesome pair of Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, the Black Stars will rely heavily on their prolific striker Asamoah Gyan and the creative Andre Ayew. The Ghanaians have a habit of getting drawn into tough groups and failed to progress in the World Cup due to this. Without another star player in Kwadwo Asamoah the task only gets tougher for the Black stars. Individual performances cost them in Brazil last year, with Jordan Ayew the main culprit. They will look to play more as a team if they are to progress.
Tough task, but they will find it tough against resolute and more complete sides in the form of Algeria and Senegal. Outside shot of progression, third at best.

Senegal

Diafra Sakho and Sadio Manè are out of the AFCON. A huge blow to the Senegalese squad as two of their most inform attacking players are out. Also without the services of Demba Ba whose form has been exceptional with 16 goals in 19 games for Besiktas due to the war of words between the striker and Alain Giresse the coach. A costly choice as two of their chief attackers look to be out, despite Giresse holding thumbs on Mane. The side will turn to Mame Biram Diouf and Papiss Cisse. How will they fare? They boast a handful of inform players and will be favorites to win the show piece. They must first maneuver a way out the group of death.
They are one of three teams with an all round squad. What can stop them is failure to click. Expect them to get that elusive second spot ahead of Ghana and South Africa.

Algeria

They are the number one side in Africa. Exceptional at the World Cup as they showed their all round qualities. They are the favorites to not just top the group but to also win the tournament. They have a strong defense and a phenomenal attack. They will have a key player in the form of Riyad Mahrez who has started to show his abilities with elusive runs and defense splitting passing, combining with Yacine Brahimi and Nabil Bentalib who will be the engines in midfield who also add goal threats. The World Champions battled against Algeria and its difficult to find a weakness in this side.
Group winners and favorites to land the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations trophy. This side are Africa's best, hope they show it.

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

We take a look at group B, this group is comprised of three former champions and one country that is making only its second appearance at the tournament. It may look easy but will be one of the most fiercely contested groups in the tournament. Will Cape Verde produce a shock progression? Tunisia are outsiders to win the event of the teams in Equatorial Guinea.

Africa Cup of Nations [Image by Theo's Little Bot]
Tunisia 

Champions in 2004, and finally showing some championship qualities. Tunisia managed to top a tough group in qualification, and managed to display, grit, flair and the nerve to see out results. Hertha Berlin's Ben-Hatira looks to be out of the AFCON as he recovers from a toe injury. Jamel Saihi will shoulder most of the responsibility to take the team forward from the midfield. Ranked second, in Africa, finishing top of a group involving Senegal leaves the Tunisians with a strong possibility of winning this event. Can the Eagles of Carthage prevail?
Will finish top of the group, and expected to do so with a game to spare.

Zambia 

Recent winners in 2012, and have shown a lack of consistency in the last eight months which has seen them spiral down the African rankings. With preparations disrupted by their narrow loss to South Africa and the withdrawal of Zesco United Nyambe Mulenga who fractured his right leg leaves the Chipolopolo in a tricky and poor position. Emmanuel Mayuka was the golden boot winner in 2012 and will be expected to produce the goals for Zambia. With limited game time at Southampton he will need to find some form soon. Zambia's squad is predominantly an experienced group and will look to use their old heads to prevail.
Do not look capable of progression. Likely to finish third.

Congo DR

The two time champions will look to progress as they search for a third AFCON title. A side well balanced with style, creativity, steel and comedians and is led by Yannick Bolasie, who has been a bright spark for Crystal Palace. The young winger will look to continue his talisman role as he was involved in majority of Congo DR's goals during qualification including a hat trick of assist on the final day. West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is expected to hold the midfield with humorous TP Mazembe  goal keeper in goal. The shot stopper probably has the best goal celebration at the tournament.
They should be able to qualify for the quarter finals as they have enough quality in the side to ensure safe passage. Watch Yannick Bolasie!

Cape Verde Islands

It is the smallest nation at the tournament. They must feel like Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup who despite being surrounded by World Cup winners accepted the challenge and executed well. Will Cape Verde produce a scintillating showing? It will take a lot more than their resolve, defensive approach and superior fitness. They will need to find goals, and if they do? They have managed an impressive run in the last few months losing twice in seven games. They managed to lose one, and win one to fellow group members Zambia. We may see a fairy tale in this tournament from the Islanders.
Every tournament needs one and 2015 may belong to Cape Verde!

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

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