In Egypt, they have Mo Salah, unarguably Africa’s finest player at the moment. The Egyptian football king is coming to the AFCON fresh from a massively successive season with premier league club Liverpool where he won the European champions league and narrowly missed out on winning the premier league.
Salah was a cornerstone to that success, winning the premier league golden boot with 22 goals alongside Senegalese’s Sadio Mane and Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and scoring the opening goal in their 2 nil demolition of Tottenham at the finals of Europe’s elite club competition.
Barely hours to the start of the continents Bonanza, host Egypt are confident they are the team to beat and given their recent form, massive home support and the quality of their players, why won’t they believe?
“We are the favorites to win the 2019 Africa Cup,” said 60-year-old coach Javier Aguirre today Thursday 20th June 2019.
“Egypt is playing at home, can count on passionate support and have Mohamed Salah, the best footballer in Africa. “ The confident Aguirre said ahead of their opening match to kick start the biennial competition in the Egyptian capital Cairo
Aguirre also dismissed the view that Egypt relies too heavily on Salah, saying: “We have selected 23 footballers who are totally committed to the cause of winning the Cup of Nations.
“It is impossible for one footballer to win a Cup of Nations on his own. Mohamed will receive tremendous support from his teammates.
But as Egypt prepares to lift the enlarged AFCON a record 8 times, lying in wait is another African giant Cameroon.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon might not boost players of the quality of Mohamed Salah but writing the Central Africans off will be at the Egyptians’ peril
Clarence Seedorf’s squad can boost a strong pedigree of its own with Ajax sensation Onana on the goal and PSG’s Jean-Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting leading the frontline alongside 2017 player of the tournament Christian Basogog, the squad which has close to a dozen members of the 2017 title-winning campaign has what it takes to punish any potential opponent at AFCON on any given day.
The five-times AFCON winners of the continent’s most curveted football prize will be eager to defend their title in Egypt and once again prove to the pharaohs that last year’s 2:1 win at the final in Gabon was not a one-off.
Head coach Clarence Seedorf had sent a very stern message to all opponents in mid-week saying, there will be “no easy time against us” setting the stage of a potential showdown in the North African nation