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African Cup of Nations 2017: Everything You Need To Know (Part II)

Samba: The official mascot of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations
Samba: The official mascot of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations

I continue the analysis of teams that will be taking part in this year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON). If you missed the first part, you can read it up here

CAMEROON

The Indomitable Lions: Another odd year, another year of expectations. (Photo credits: DailyMail)
The Indomitable Lions: Another odd year, another year of expectations. (Photo credits: DailyMail)

Nickname: The Indomitable Lions

Federation: FECAFOOT (Federation Cameroun de Football)

FIFA Ranking: 59th (as of December 2016)

The Coach:  HUGO BROOS (BEL)

The wily 64-year old Belgian is a RSC Anderlecht legend. For more than ten years he was their central defender and helped them win 4 Euro Cup finals, 3 national championships and 4 Belgian Cups. Between 1974 and 1986 he represented his country, earning 24 caps and finishing 4th at Mexico 1986. He later moved to Club Brugge where he played for 5 seasons till season 87–88, winning the Belgian Cup in 1986 and the championship in 1988.

He began coaching later in 1988 before he coached Club Brugge from 1991 to 1998, winning the championship twice in 1992 and 1996, as well as the Belgian Cup in 1991, 1995 and 1996. He went on to coach RSC Anderlecht getting them into the Champions League while winning the 2003–2004 season championship. He became Cameroon coach in 2016 and has instilled a new-found belief in the side with his task being to bring back the glory years for les Lions.

Star Man:

Danger Man: Vincent Aboubakar (Photo Credits: Super Sports)
Danger Man: Vincent Aboubakar (Photo Credits: Super Sports)

If Les Lions are to get going in Gabon, they will need the goals of VINCENT ABOUBAKAR to complement whatever plans they have. The Besiktas striker (aged 18 at the time), was named in the Lions’ 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was the only player in the squad who was based in Cameroon then. He has assumed some sort of elderly status in the team along with Stephane Mbia as Alexandre Song seems far from the list. His 14 international goals from 47caps may not be monstrous, but those goals often came in moments where they were in dire need.

He has taken Samuel Eto’s mantle and while he may not be the captain, he has shown he is the catalyst they need to achieve full potential. His unique skill set often reminds one of Patrick Mboma. His eye for goal reminiscent of Samuel Eto and his sheer power takes you back to the Roger Milla. He however must lead his side to glory like the aforementioned men if he would go down in Cameroonian football history

The Team

Most Caps: Rigobert Song (137)

Top Scorer:  Samuel Eto (56 goals)

Previous appearances: 17 (1970,  1972, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015)

Best Outing: Champions 4 times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002)

The Indomitable Lions have qualified for consecutive Nations cup for the first time since 2010 and it would have been a huge relief as they topped a group including another African powerhouse in, South Africa. However, if Hugo Broos’ men are to succeed in Gabon, they will need more than just unity and team spirit. They will need some of their players stepping up and turning in high level performances.

Players like Clinton N’jie, Benjamin Moukandjo, Edgar Salli, Vincent Aboubakar and Collins Fai must make the seven who refused to honour the AFCON call up eat their words and wish they did. Enough of dwelling on the glory days of the 1990 Quarter final appearance or the four AFCON triumphs. 2002 is a long time to have last won a title for Les Lions and now is the time to show if they have got quality. Everything about the disastrous campaign in 2015 must be forgotten because the only way they can look now is forward.

The fixtures:

14.01.2017:     BURKINA FASO VS. CAMEROUN

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

18.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

22.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GABON

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

My Prediction: Les Lions have been granted the perfect rehearsal for their own Nations Cup in 2019 with this group and hence must show they can cope with massive expectation and the pressure that comes with it. The talent in the side should help as the team looks in a formative process. A QUARTER FINAL appearance looks a safe bet if they can win their opener against the Burkinabe with the semis being a bridge too far.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Status Quo: The team looking to prove majority wrong by qualifying out of the group
Status Quo: The team looking to prove majority wrong by qualifying out of the group. (Photo Credits: Goal)

Nickname: Djuritus

Federation: FEFUGB (Federaacao de Futebol da Guine-Bissau

FIFA Ranking: 68 (December 2016)

The Coach:  BACIRO CANDE (GBU)

The 68-year old only returned in early 2016 after a six-year hiatus from coaching his fatherland. A defender in his playing days, Cande has instilled that same spirit in this team and while it has taken him sixteen years combined to take his home nation to Africa’s premier event, it has been worth the wait.

Star Man:  Levadaikos midfielder ZEZINHO is key to any success the Djuritus want to have in this AFCON tourney. The former Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid player is the closest to a high-profile name in the squad and is an essential part of a well oiled unit. He would be hoping to outdo himself and become the greatest player to have pulled on the Green of Guinea Bissau

The Team:

Most Caps: Not available

Top Scorer: Ciecero (6)

Previous appearances: 0

Best record: 0

The fixtures:

14.01.2017:     GABON VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              17H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

18.01.2017:     CAMEROUN VS. GUINÉE BISSAU

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de l’Amitié

22.01.2017:     GUINÉE BISSAU VS. BURKINA FASO

Time:              20H00

Venue:            Stade de Franceville

The Djuritus have continued the tradition of having Portuguese-speaking African countries at the AFCON, one which Angola kicked off in 2006. Their aim however will border on how they set themselves up against their opponents. Seen as the whipping boys of the group, and a point booster, they must challenge the hierarchy just like Cape Verde did in 2013.

Baciro Cande has not hidden the fact that he will set up his side to defend, but tactical intelligence and awareness could be just as key as it could be a key factor in Gabon. The stage is however set, and all they can do is bask in their moment of glory come January 14 in Librevelle. It will be the dawn of a new beginning of the Portuguese Guinea, they cannot allow it to be the end too.

My Prediction: The fans of Guinea Bissau will definitely enjoy themselves in Gabon, its only that it could be for a few days. The strength and might of the opposition may seem too much, especially the opening game; one which could decide their international tournament future. Do the impossible and continue the fairytale. Lose and start questioning your confidence. I might love Cinderella stories, but a GROUP STAGE exit is almost a surety here.

Rotimi "Papi" Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi is the owner of ForTheGoal. A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @rotdav to keep up with his writings and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.

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