It’s an open field for the quarter-finals of the Nations Cup, but who are the contenders – the power rankings left in the tournament?
Anyone who has followed the Nzalang Nacional’s advancement since 2019 should not be surprised by their performance in this competition.
They were fortunate not to concede a penalty against Mali, provided very nothing going forward, and now face a Senegal defense that hasn’t conceded a goal all tournament. Will the Teranga Lions’ feisty midfield be a match for them?
To this point, Gambia has put up a remarkable performance—which should come as no surprise to those of us who have followed Tom Saintfiet’s growth since he took over the Scorpions—but can they truly get past hosts Cameroon?
An Afcon upset would be a shock, and the Scorpions are well-equipped to put a damper on the festivities in Central Africa. They’re Covid-free (for the time being…!) and will be hoping the Japoma pitch goes their way.
They couldn’t bury a Gabon 10 men, costing them a late game when the Panthers equalized.
The Stallions made it to the quarterfinals despite the nerves of a penalty shootout, but can they repeat the feats of 2013 and 2017 and advance further in the competition?
Bertrand Traore must continuously perform at his best, and the Tunisians’ lack of experience may work against them.
The Atlas Lions continue to grow into the tournament, and their extensive undefeated streak stands them in could stead as they prepare to face Egypt in the quarter-finals.
Achraf Hakimi and Sofiane Boufal are both creating a plethora of chances and winning games simultaneously, and surely it’s only a matter of time before Youssef En-Nesyri and his fellow strikers start putting these chances away with regularity.
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Tunisia’s customary characteristics came to the fore against Nigeria in the Last 16 after a poor showing in the group stage—that 4-0 thrashing of Mauritania notwithstanding.
That victory will give them enormous impetus as they head into the quarters, and they’ll fancy their chances against a Burkina Faso team who failed to defeat Ethiopia in the group stage.
The Carthage Eagles will enjoy their chances of returning to the semis with veterans Wahbi Khazri and Youssef Msakni heading the charge.
The Pharaohs have broken free from their chains, registering 21 shots in a Last 16 draw with Ivory Coast before defeating the Elephants on penalties.
There was signs that the North Africans had other ways of lashing teams than Mohamed Salah, although they may be outclassed by Morocco.
Will the seasoned Pharaohs, led by coach Carlos Queiroz, be able to overcome yet another talented team?
Cameroon’s recent form has slowed, with a 1-1 draw against Cape Verde and a tight 2-1 win over a Comoros squad without a goalie following a 4-1 thrashing of Ethiopia.
The Indomitable Lions have a variety of methods to hurt opponents, with Vincent Aboubakar being the tournament’s best player thus far, but defensive flaws and a brittle mentality might yet bring them down.
Senegal hasn’t conceded a goal yet in the tournament, despite the Teranga Lions’ lack of creativity in the middle of the park.
Even though Sadio Mane’s head injury overshadowed their 2-0 win over Cape Verde, the arrival of Ismaila Sarr should give them a major boost heading into the next round.