With the 2017 African Cup of Nations just few weeks to commence, many pundits are predicting which country will most likely emerge the winner. These analyses are generally based on different parameters and factors such as team cohesion, individual players that can make a difference, quality of coach, experience of the team members, fan support etc.
In this article, we are going to analyze the countries that have the greatest chance of wrestling the mantle from Ivory Coast and become the next African champions.
Ivory Coast (Likely to win back-to-back): This West African country is the current defending champion having won the last championship in 2015. It is expected that The Elephant team that carried the trophy is still in very good shape, despite a rather poor performance during the qualifiers in which they won only a single match. Also going for them is the quality of individual players they parade in the team. The team’s main star player, Yaya Toure has won the CAF African Footballer of the Year 4 times consecutively since 2011 and narrowly missed winning it again in 2015. In addition, Salomon Kalou and several other key players playing in some of the best European clubs will make crushing The Elephant in 2017 a very tough job for DR Congo, Morocco and Togo - who have been grouped with them in group C.
Senegal: Even though they do not parade as much individual star players as Ivory Coast, the team cohesion will most likely work in their favour towards winning their first ever African Cup of Nations trophy. Their spectacular performance at the group qualifier matches having won all 6 matches shows a team that is in top shape. This is in addition to the fanatic support they get from their fans. If they can maintain their form, becoming Africa’s next football champion is certainly within their.
Egypt: The Pharaohs is by every standard the most cohesive team in Africa currently. This is mostly based on the fact that more than 80% of their national team members all play their home league. So they understand each other’s pattern of play while on the pitch. Their ability to play a fast paced football will no doubt give them an edge over their opponents at the upcoming tournament. If they win the 2017 tournament, in addition to the five times they have won it in the past, they will undoubtedly establish themselves as the most successful team on the back continent.