Managerial change, newcomers and favorites at the Africa Cup 2017
The host-team usually is under a lot of pressure to win the title at the Africa Cup of Nations. Under the watchful and strict eyes of the own fellow countrymen and in the middle of international cameras it is maintained to present oneself in peak form and the own country as immaculate as possible. In 2015 host Equatorial Guinea made it into the semifinal and the Gabonese expect even more from their team around striker-star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But those responsible are having a lot less faith for Trainer Jorge Costa. In November, only two month before the kickoff against Guinea-Bissau on January 14th, the Portuguese had been laid off. His successor will be Jose Antonio Garrido, who was a technical manager in the Gabonese league prior to that. But thanks to Aubameyand and the two talents Mario Lemina (Juventus Turin) and Didier Ndong (FC Sunderland) the squad of the host-country is as strong as never before! The best result at an Africa Cup was achieving the quarterfinals in 1996 and at last in 2002. Now Gabon is dreaming of more.
The qualification for the tournament already is a huge success for Guinea-Bissau, which celebrates its premiere at the Africa Cup in Gabun. But qualitatively this squad is on of the weakest in the tournament. Anything but the touch in the preliminary round would be a surprise.
In the same Group A the host is playing against Cameroon. Although there is a lot of quality in esse, the former football-force is descending into chaos. Both of its world championship performances in 2010 and 2014 were desolate and they missed the Africa Cup twice in the past six years. Now the offensive players Benjamin Moukandjo, Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from Schalke are supposed to ensure, that more positive headlines will be written, because the team still is a secret favorite.
The cup holder, Ivory Coast, is currently on the move. After Superstar Didier Drogba, the Touré-brothers also resigned. The young generation around Eric Bailly (Manchester United) and Franck Kessie (Atalanta Bergamo) has a lot of potential at its disposal, but has to reconcile itself first. For the incumbent Champion, Group C, with the DR Congo, secret favorite Morocco and Togo, will be anything but a fast-selling item.