The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations takes place in Egypt between 21 June-19 July this summer and already the debates have started over who will win the tournament.
Two years ago it was agreed that the tournament would be moved from the start of the year to the summer so that the tournament didn’t take players away from their domestic teams for a month.
The 2019 edition of the tournament has also been expanded from 16 to 24 nations. 14 nations have already booked their place in this summer’s tournament, which will see Madagascar and Mauritania make their debuts.
With qualifying delayed, the final teams will not be confirmed until March. Egypt will be making a record 24th participation in the tournament.
Currently, the bookmakers do not have odds on the winners but here are our three favourite nations for the tournament:
The hosts qualified for the 2018 World Cup last summer and have a strong squad to match. Many of their players play domestically but a few stars they have playing abroad include the 2017-18 Premier League Golden Boot winner, Mohamed Salah.
Salah will be the favourite to win the Golden Boot in this summer’s tournament too, providing he stays healthy. The forward scored the goal that booked Egypt’s place in last summer’s World Cup and has scored 39 goals in 62 caps for the national team.
Other stars in this side include Kasımpasa’s Trezeguet, Aston Villa’s Ahmed El Mohamady and Arsenal’s Mohamed El Neny.
Not since 1982 have Ghana lifted Africa’s most prestigious tournament. Some of the stars from recent World Cups have since retired by the Black Stars still have a wealth of talent on show.
Kayserispor striker Asamoah Gyan may be 33 years old now but still knows where the back of the net is. And with the likes of Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew and Thomas Partey supporting him in attack, Ghana have lots of goalscoring threats.
Deportivo Alaves midfielder Mubarek Wakaso, Newcastle United’s Christian Atsu and Columbus Crew’s Jonathan Mensah are other household names in the squad.
You won’t see great odds on Ghana to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for this reason, but you can expect to see them among many tipster’s sports betting picks this summer
Always among the favourites this millennium, Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in 2015 after numerous failings.
Gone are the days of Didier Drogba and co but the Elephants are just as strong these days. London-born Wilfried Zaha could become a key part of the attack if given an opportunity, whilst Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia has scored seven goals in his 15 caps.
Ivory Coast’s midfield is full of talent, from Fulham’s Jean Seri, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Max Gradel, who’s playing at Toulouse these days.
Two Premier League stars form part of their defence too – Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Tottenham Hotspur’s Serge Aurier. Don’t be surprised if Ivory Coast are the bookmakers’ favourites once the odds have been revealed.