After postponement occasioned by among other factors, Covid-19, it is all systems go as Africa prepares for the topmost competition, the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will be held in Cameroon.
With fans back in stadia at the height of massive vaccinations, Africa is bound to swing back to life, and the beauty of this competition is the way the bigwigs in the continent get to face off with the lower ranking nations.
In this competition, for the second time, 24 teams will be taking part after the tournament was expanded starting 2019. All the top 11 sides in the continent booked their slots, and 10 of the 24 teams taking part are placed below 100 in the World Rankings by FIFA.
With the extravaganza well anticipated, and the expectation being that as before, the winner will be drawn from among the 11 giants taking part, SportyTrader.com/en/ will have the previews and predictions as the games roll on. So, who are the 10 lowest ranking nations taking part?
Gambia: This will be the first appearance for Gambia in the AFCON finals. They came out of a group that had seasoned greats DR Congo, as well as Gabon, with all their star players. Gambia are the lowest ranked in the competition at position 147 in the world. They will be in Group F which has Tunisia, Mauritania and Mali.
Ethiopia: As a team, Ethiopia were a force to reckon with in the 1950’ and 60s. That flame is long gone but they will hope to rekindle it at this competition, coming in as the second lowest ranked nation at position 137 in the world. They are drawn in Group A, which also has Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Cape Verde.
Comoros: Another team making a first appearance at the AFCON finals is Comoros. Ranked at position 132 in the world, the Indian Ocean Island nation qualified ahead of higher ranked Kenya and Togo in their group, and will be keen on causing some upsets at the finals.
Equatorial Guinea: Ranked at position 126 in the world, Equatorial Guinea are making their second appearance, but only the first in a tournament they aren’t hosting. In the qualification stage, they registered home and away wins over Libya and their win at home to Tanzania also proved pivotal. They will be in Group E, which also has Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Algeria.
Malawi: After their win over Algeria in the 2010 AFCON, Malawi will hope for a few more positive shocks in Cameroon. They are the fifth lowest ranking nation at position 120. They came off a group with a tough Uganda side and while they remain underdogs, they will go to this competition knowing all is possible. Malawi will play in Group B alongside Guinea, Senegal and Zimbabwe.
The other lowest ranking sides outside the top 100 worldwide are: Sudan (123), Zimbabwe (118), Guinea Bissau (109), Sierra Leone (104) and Mauritania (102). The competition is scheduled to run from January 9 – February 6, 2022.
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