Zambia and The African Cup of Nations
With the African Cup of Nations 2022 (AFCON) around the corner and FIFA World Cup in the same year, it’s going to be a busy time over at sportsbooks with many trying their luck or just having fun. But are the ‘Copper Bullets’ worth betting on this AFCON?
Since its inception in 1957, Zambia has always attempted to qualify for the AFCON, with some years yielding results and others not. The team and the country suffered a severe loss in the plane crash of 1993 and didn’t qualify for the FIFA world cup.
Despite this, the ‘Chipolopolo’ (Copper Bullets) made it to the finals of the AFCON the following year, losing to Nigeria 2 -1. One would not have predicted that they would do so well, considering that the team had to be rebuilt almost entirely.
Fortunately, this story is not without its silver lining, and 2012 was just that for the Zambian team. They finished first in their group, which consisted of Senegal, Libya, and Ghana; they blazed past Sudan with a 3-0 victory in the quarterfinals and beat Ghana in the semi-finals, and it seemed as if theirs was a victory written in the stars. They played at a level that would make you want to bet on football at 10bet and win. Sure, their win was unpredictable, who would have thought it would reach penalty shootouts. The team dedicated their win to the country’s fallen heroes; many called it magic, others, fate. Either way, it was indeed a stunning victory in the beautiful game.
In 2015 as the reigning champions, they were dismissed in the first round and watched as Ivory Coast, their opponents in 2012, and their former coach lifted the cup that year. After failing to qualify for the tournament, the team watched the 2017 AFCON from home. In 2019 they were ousted in the group stages with a loss to Tunisia and a draw with the DRC.
For the 2022 AFCON, the team was grouped in group H based on its FIFA rankings, ranking them at 88. Group H consists of Algeria, Zimbabwe, and Botswana and it does not look promising for Beston’s boys; with only seven points, they are second last after Zimbabwe. They have lost five games and drawn one with no wins.
It would be too early to have predictions for the 2022 tournament, as we have not even had the opening ceremony yet. But if you are impatient while waiting for kick-off in January, you could browse Bestbettingafrica.com to see where to play once the action begins.
Nigeria, the Super Eagles, have had lacklustre performances in the past couple of tournaments, but they have been known to be dark horses and could cause an upset. They are currently at the top of their group rankings, and if they could build upon that momentum, we could experience the Nigeria of old.
Algeria is the reigning champions and has a lot of the winning squad from the previous AFCON, such as Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, with a few new players like Mehdi Zerkane and Ramiz Zerrouki to inject more fire. Could they clinch the title a second consecutive year? Well, that remains to be seen.
Ivory Coast had a poor performance in 2017, and in 2019 were beaten by Algeria before making it to the quarterfinals. New players like Nicholas Pepe could be the Ivory Coast saving grace to making it to the semis.
Morocco did well in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, being the last African country to be eliminated. In their journey to the 2022 AFCON, they only conceded one goal in the qualifiers. If they still had the same coach as they had in 2018, perhaps their win would be more of a sure thing.
Senegal is currently number one in the African Top 20 teams and is currently ranked 20th; they have won four of their last five games and drew one. Even though they don’t have an AFCON trophy under their belt, with the likes of Abdallah Sima and Boulaye Dia, goals are definite possibilities.
AFCON 2022 is set to kick off on the 9th January 2022 in Cameroon. It promises to bring great soccer and memorable moments. Hopefully, we will see teams like the Elephants and Black Stars play the epic football they are known for. And who will be in the final, you ask? Well, our very early predictions would have to be Senegal and Algeria.