The African cup of nations 2019 or AFCON 2019 is a biennial (held after every two years) football tournament held amongst the best African countries in the game. The 2019 edition is being held in Egypt from 21st June to 19th July after original hosts Cameroun were stripped of the rights due to non-compliance with strict preparation schedules, no doubt occasioned by the political turmoil in the country’s Anglophone region.
The tournament consists of 24 countries for the first time, four of which are from the eastern African region (Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya). The teams are divided into six groups of four nations each playing each other. The two top teams in each group as well as the four best third place sides will then advance to the last 16, from there it is knockout football all the way to the final.
Where to watch AFCON in Kenya
Kenya broadcasting corporation (KBC) has the rights to show the tournament by virtue of being a state broadcaster. However, for the best viewing experience, I would recommend upgrading your GOTV subscription to Gotv max. DSTv will also be showing the tournament live, all 52 matches, on supersport.
News stories around AFCON 2019
AFCON 2019 is being held after the head of CAF, the body that organizes football in Africa, Ahmed Ahmed, was arrested in France on allegations of corruption, in a similar manner to which the FIFA heads were arrested a couple of years back in Switzerland.
Egypt is hosting the AFCON in an atmosphere where football fans have only been allowed to return to stadiums after being banned from stadiums for years. This was after the Port Said riot of 2012. It will be interesting to see how many fans are allowed to attend AFCON games. Atmosphere may be poor at the stadiums as a result.
Caf is hosting this tournament after the debacle that was the caf champions league final between Tunisia’s Esperance and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca was abandoned midway after VAR failed to work and Wydad Casablanca walked off the pitch. They will be desperate for a tournament without issues and negative publicity.
Teams to watch out for in AFCON 2019
Egypt is the favourites to win the competition by virtue of being the hosts. In addition, the best African footballer around, Mohammed Salah, is Egyptian, and will be assisted by other good players such as Trezeguet, Arsenal’s Mohammed Elneny and Tarek Mohammed. This is not the greatest Egyptian side of all time, but home support should push them at least to the semifinals.
Senegal is the best in Africa at the moment. Led by Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane, and Napoli’s defender Kalidou Koulibaly, they also boast other great names such as Everton’s Idrissa Gueye, Ismaila Sarr, Sabaly and Mbaye Niang.’ Guided by their coach Aliou Cisse, they will aim to make the semifinals at least.
Cameroon is the defending champion of AFCON, having won it in 2017. They do not have too many stars, but they have pedigree and are coached by a proven winner Clarence seedorf, formerly of ac Milan and a decorated dutch footballer in his heyday.
Other good teams are perennial favourites Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali and Morocco, who did really well in last year’s world cup.
Does Kenya have a chance?
I will analyze Harambee stars later in a separate blog post, but the short answer to this question is NO. Kenya is one of the weakest nations in the competition and is in a tough group with favourites Senegal and Algeria. It will be a great achievement just to get out of the group stage and into the last 16.
Who to follow for football analysis during the AFCON 2019
There are many excellent Kenyan journalists and football pundits to follow on twitter and facebook for analysis, news and entertainment around #AFCON219. These are my suggestions:
|Bonface Osano||a football analyst who has worked with among others, soka afrika and futaa.com. he is a must follow.|
|Carol Radull.||Radio presenter of popular show on kiss 100, she is a football fan with massive influence online and offline|
|Kevin Teya||a football pundit who breathes football. Few know the local game more than he does.|
|Zax Oguda.||Never a dull moment on his TL. Also has a book out on Kenyan football, “Away from Victory” that looks at football in Kenya and some of the issues that have blighted the game including politics. A must read.|
|Idah Waringa||Ntv sports news reporter and a big football fan. She should have the latest news on afcon 2019 on her TL.|
|Carolle Kamanda||Bamba sports football and other sports news presenter|
|Elijah Ouko.||Bamba sports football and other sports news presenter|
The AFCON 2019 should be a great festival of football. The fan atmosphere may not be that great due to the restrictions on number of fans, but with excellent hosting facilities and experience in hosting football tournaments, Egypt should pull off a superb month of African football.
I am tipping Senegal to win the tournament, but otherwise I expect the north African countries to dominate the football in their backyard, at a period where giants such as ivory coast, Nigeria and Ghana aren’t doing too well.