Nigeria-Tunisia on Sunday and Ivory Coast-Egypt next Wednesday will be the two highlights of the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) that takes place in Cameroon, while the host will face each other on Monday to one of the surprises of the first phase, Comores.
The only team that has made the full three wins in the first phase, the Nigerian ‘Super Eagles’ have been the team that has left the best impression in the first part of the tournament.
Nigeria, continental champion in 1980, 1994 and 2013, starts as a favorite (Sunday at 7:00 p.m. GMT) in the duel against another CAN winner such as Tunisia (2004), qualified for the round of 16 as one of the best third parties after two disappointing defeats against Mali (1-0) and Gambia (1-0).
To see the other confrontation between African champions, we will have to wait until Wednesday (4:00 p.m. GMT), when Ivory Coast (1992 and 2015) and Egypt, the team that holds the record for victories in the tournament (seven, in 1957, 1959) meet. , 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010).
The ‘Pharaohs’ have disappointed so far, in the image of their great star Mohamed Salah, and after losing on the first day against Nigeria, they later beat modest Guinea-Bissau (1-0) and Sudan (1-0). ).
Like Salah, his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané will have the opportunity to assert himself as a star on the African continent in the second phase, in which his team, Senegal, will play their neighbors Cape Verde in the round of 16 (Monday at 4:00 p.m. GMT ).
That same day, Morocco will also start as the clear favorite against Malawi, another revelation of the tournament.
– Aboubakar after scoring record –
On Sunday, the hosts Cameroon, who have the tournament’s top scorer, Vincent Aboubakar (5 goals), will have all the responsibility against Comoros, who will continue to dream in their first participation in the continental tournament and will play without any pressure.
With his five goals, Aboubakar has already equaled Samuel Eto’o’s mark (5 goals in 2006 and 2008) and surpassed another Cameroonian legend like Roger Milla (4 goals in 1984), the same as Patrick Mboma in 2004.
He can even aspire to the record for goals in an edition of the CAN, which is held by Zairean Pierre Ndaye Mulamba with 9 goals since 1974 (although in only five games).
Another team that has gone much further than might be expected is Gambia, the smallest country on continental Africa, which will play Guinea on Monday.
And what about Equatorial Guinea, which with a team with a majority of soccer players born in Spain (16) and who play in teams in the non-professional categories in the former colony, was one of the executioners of Algeria, the current continental champion and great absence of the crosses after being eliminated in the first phase.
The round of 16 will begin on Sunday (4:00 p.m. GMT) with the duel between Gabon and Burkina Faso.
– Schedule for the Round of 16 of the African Cup of Nations (CAN):
– Sunday 23:
(16:00 GMT) Burkina Faso – Gabon in Limbe
(19:00 GMT) Nigeria – Tunisia in Garoua
– Monday 24:
(16h00 GMT) Guinea – Gambia and Bafoussam
(19h00 GMT) Cameroon – Comoros in Yaoundé
– Tuesday 25:
(16h00 GMT) Senegal – Cape Verde and Bafoussam
(19h00 GMT) Morocco – Malawi in Yaoundé
– Wednesday 26:
(16h00 GMT) Ivory Coast – Egypt in Douala
(19h00 GMT) Mali – Equatorial Guinea in Limbé