The anticipated ‘Thunder and Blood’ encounter of Cote d’ivoire and Nigeria on Thursday is among the top 10 matches even CAF expects to be explosive.
Sports Village Square recalls that Nigeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations trophy on three occasions that the Super Eagles avoided defeats to Cote d’Ivoire.
This is a pointer to what is expected when both clash in what is expected to be the most explosive and possibly decisive in Group A leadership.
The opening match this evening of Cote d’Ivoire versus Guinea Bissau has the colouration of a routine encounter for the hosts. But in situations of this nature, nothing is too certain. Below are the 10 matches CAF has designated as top picks
- Senegal – Gambia: 15 January, 14h00 GMT
On paper, the fixture seems unbalanced, but this is without knowing the rivalry between two border countries which are similar in several points. A David against Goliath that will be worth the detour.
- Cote d’Ivoire – Nigeria: 18 January 17h00 GMT
A match of former African champions with five titles between them. Hosts Cote d’Ivoire have lifted the AFCON title twice while the Super Eagles have one so three times, setting up what promises to be an action packed encounter.
- Egypt – Ghana: 18 January, 20h00 GMT
The meetings between these two nations has always been electric. A total of 11 AFCON titles between them, with both sides looking at adding to their collection.
- Senegal – Cameroon: 19 January, 17h00 GMT
The battle of the African lions is definitely one of the marquee fixtures. The Lions of Teranga against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will certainly be one to look out for.
Algeria – Burkina: 20 January, 14h00 GMT
The last confrontations between these two teams has been full of suspense. They meet again on the 20thhoping to get a confidence boosting win at the start.
- Tunisia – Mali: 20 January, 20h00 GMT
Two teams that never quit. From the World Cup qualifiers to the AFCON, there is always a confrontation between Aigles de Carthage and Aigles that keeps you in suspense.
- Morocco – DR Congo: 21 January, 14h00 GMT
The Atlas Lions face a tricky opponent in DR Congo. While Morocco may be deemed as favourites, both sides have what it takes to clinch what should be an evenly balanced tie.
- South Africa – Namibia: 21 January, 20h00 GMT
A southern derby that is fast growing into a fierce one. Bafana Bafana, winners of the 1996 edition welcome a highly motivated side led by the youngest coach of the tournament in Collin Benjamin (45)
- Guinea – Senegal: 23 January, 17h00 GMT
An exciting duel of a West African derby guaranteed to entertain. Guinea will be hoping to cause an upset against the reigning champions while the Lions of Teranga look to defend their title.
- Tanzania – DR Congo, 24 January 20h00 GMT
With football in full expansion, the Tanzanian championship is full of several Congolese players who make it rain or shine. A derby also for supremacy.
Tanzanian football has been on the rise over the last few years, with a number of Congolese players plying their trade in the East African nation. The two nations clash on 24 January in what should be an interesting tie.
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