The 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, which was originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, will finally be played in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6, 2022.
Group F of this edition of the African Cup of Nations will see two eagles fighting to advance to the next round with Gambia and Mauritania likely to cause an upset for the group favourites.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia have not played in an Africa Cup of Nations final since their home victory in 2004 and would be looking forward to breaking that jinx in this year’s tournament. With their recent performance in the just-ended FIFA Arab cup, Tunisia will be a force to reckon with for Mali, Mauritania and Gabon.
Mondher Kebaier’s side will count on the experience of captain Wahbi Khazri and Manchester United youngster Hannibal Mejbri to step up following their impressive run in the FIFA Arab Cup where they ended as Runners-up.
Their opener against Mali will be an intriguing encounter as the Eagles are in the best form of their lives, topping their Afcon qualifying group with an unbeaten run.
TUNISIA AFCON SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: Farouk bin Mustafa (Esperance), Bashir bin Said (US Monastir), Ayman Dahmane (Sfaxien), Ali Jamal (Stade Tunisien).
Defenders: Dylan Bronn (Metz – France), Muntasir Talbi (Rubin Kazan – Russia), Bilal Ifa (Club Africain), Osama Haddadi (Yeni Malatyaspor – Turkey), Omar Rekik (Arsenal – England), Mohamed Dragger (Nottingham Forest – England), Mohamed Amin bin Hmida (Esperance), Hamza Mathlouthi (Zamalek – Egypt), Ali Maaloul (Al-Ahly – Egypt), Ali Al-Abedy (Caen – France)
Midfielders: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Esperance), Issa Aidouni (Ferencvaros – Hungary), Elias Skhiri (Koln – Germany), Ghilane Chaalali (Esperance), Seifeddine Khaoui (Clermont – France), Anis Benslimane (Brondby – Denmark). Hannibal Mjebri (Manchester United – England), Firas bin Arabi (Ajman – UAE), Wahbi Khazri (Saint Etienne – France), Hamza Rafia (Standard Liege – Belgium), Naim Sliti (Al-Ittifaq – Saudi Arabia).
Forwards: Seif El Din Jaziri (Zamalek – Egypt), Yoann Touzghar (Troyes – France), Youssef Msakni (Al Arabi – Qatar).
With that performance during the qualifiers, many have tipped Mali to go for the ultimate in their 12th participation in the African Cup of Nations. Haven’t been to the finals since 1972, the Eagles have however been to the semi-finals in 2012 and 2013 and managed to qualify for the round of 16 in 2019 in Cairo.
Mohamed Magassouba’s men will be looking forward to replicating that performance in the qualifying rounds as they comes up against a tough Tunisian side with Mauritania and Gambia. RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara is one to keep an eye on as one of the experienced midfielders in the Eagle’s set-up.
MALI AFCON SQUAD: TBC
The Lions of Chinguetti will be looking to make it out of the group stages in Cameroon in their second appearance in the prestigious continental championship.
Didier Gomes and his men will be eyeing more points this time around as they seek to surpass what they did in their maiden appearance in Cairo 2019.
MAURITANIA AFCON SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: Babacar Diop (FC Nouadhibou, Mauritania), Mbacke Ndiaye (Nouakchott Kings, Mauritania), Mohamed El Mokhtar (AS Douanes, Mauritania).
Defenders: Abdoul Ba (Al Ahli, Libya), Diadie Diarra (Goal FC, France), El Hassen Houbeibib (Al Zawaraa, Iraq), Harouna Abou Demba (Unattached), Souleymane Karamoko (Nancy, France), Aly Abeid (Valenciennes, France), Houssen Abderrahmane (Royal Francs Borains, Belgium), Abdoulkader Thiam (US Boulogne, France).
Midfielders: Mohamed Dellah Yali (Unattached), Guessouma Fofana (Cluj, Romania), Ibrehima Coulibaly (Le Mans, France), Khassa Camara (NorthEast United FC, India), Almike Moussa Ndiaye (Goal FC, France), Yacoub Sidi Ethmane (AS Vita, DR Congo), Mohsen Bodda (FC Nouadhibou, Mauritania), Abdallahi Mahmoud (NK Istra, Croatia), Mohamed Soueid (FC Nouadhibou, Mauritania), Beyatt Lekweiry (AS Douanes, Mauritania).
Forwards: Aboubakar Kamara (Aris Thessaloniki, Greece), Hemeya Tanjy (FC Nouadhibou, Mauritania), Oumar Camara (Beroe Stara Zagora, Bulgaria), Adama Ba (RS Berkane, Morocco), Souleymane Doukara (Giresunspor Kulubu, Turkey), Idrissa Thiam (ASAC Concorde, Mauritania), Pape Ibnou Ba (Le Havre, France).
The Gambia will be looking to making a good impression in their maiden appearance in the African Cup of Nations as they come up against two powerhouses, Tunisia and Mali with Mauritania not seeming to be too much of a problem.
Belgium trainer Tom Saintfiet and his men are ready to make a mark as they seek to replicate their form in the qualifying round, topping their group ahead of Gabon and DR Congo.
GAMBIA AFCON SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: Baboucarr Gaye (Rot-Weiss Koblenz, Germany), Sheikh Sibi (Virtus Verona, Italy), Modou Jobe (Black Leopards, South Africa).
Defenders: Pa Modou Jagne (FC Dietikon, Switzerland), Omar Colley (Sampdoria, Italy), James Gomez (AC Horsens, Denmark), Noah Sonko Sundberg (Ostersund, Sweden), Bubacarr Sanneh (Unattached), Ibou Touray (Salford City, England), Saidy Janko (Real Valladolid, Spain), Mohammed Mbye (Solvesborg, Sweden).
Midfielders: Ebrima Sohna (Fortune FC, The Gambia), Dawda Ngum (Bronshoj, Denmark), Sulayman Marreh (Gent, Belgium), Ebrima Darboe (Roma, Italy), Yusupha Bobb (Piacenza, Italy), Ebou Adams (Forest Green Rovers, England), Musa Barrow (Bologna, Italy), Ablie Jallow (Seraing, Belgium), Steve Trawally (Ajman, UAE), Ebrima Colley (Spezia, Italy).
Forwards: Lamin Jallow (Fehervar, Hungary), Bubacarr Jobe (Norrby, Sweden), Assan Ceesay (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Muhammed Badamosi (Kortrijk, Belgium), Modou Barrow (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, South Korea), Dembo Darboe (Shakhtyor Soligorsk, Belarus), Yusupha Njie (Boavista, Portugal).
GROUP F FIXTURES
Wednesday, January 12: Tunisia vs Mali, 1 pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe), Mauritania vs Gambia, 4 pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe).
Sunday, January 16: Gambia vs Mali, 1 pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe), Tunisia vs Mauritania, 4 pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe).
Thursday, January 20: Gambia vs Tunisia, 7 pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe), Mali vs Mauritania, 7 pm (Japoma Stadium, Douala).
FAVOURITES TO QUALIFY