Egypt is hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The tournament started on June 21 and it will end on July 19. The opening ceremony was held at Cairo International Stadium. Egypt is the only country which has won the AFCON title seven times. Soccer bettors can get a meridianbet promo code when they correctly predict which teams will reach the last 16 stage. In this post, we discuss five things that we should expect in the 2019 AFCON.
The AFCON Season
Traditionally, the AFCON tournament is often held from January to February. However, it was scheduled to occur from June to July from this year’s edition to allow European-based players to participate in it. They include Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez.
More Participating Teams
In the past, AFCON comprised of 16 teams. Nevertheless, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) increased the number of participating teams to 24 in 2017. The football body will draw the teams into six groups each constituting of four teams. The top three teams will proceed to the last 16 stage.
Video Assistant Referee
The 2019 AFCON tournament will feature the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). The new technology will help in monitoring all matches beyond the quarterfinal stage. It will play a critical role in eliminating controversial decisions which some referees make thus promoting fairness in the tournament.
Huge Cash Prizes
The champions of the 2019 AFCON championship will receive $4.5 million, the runners-up will earn $2.5 million, and the semi-finalists will receive $2 million while the quarterfinalists will earn $800,000.
The main contenders for this year’s edition include Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco and Ivory Coast. Mohamed Salah helped Egypt advance to the world cup. However, they didn’t reach the quarterfinals. Senegal is the top African team in the latest FIFA rankings. However, they have never won any AFCON title. On the other hand, Nigeria has several talented players including Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa who might help them reach the finals. They were drawn in the same group with Burundi, Guinea, and Madagascar.
Ghana has experienced players. However, the West African nation has been facing numerous management issues. Herve Renard will lead the Moroccan team in the 2019 AFCON. He is confident that they will win their third title. However, they might face stiff competition from Ivory Coast.
Egypt hasn’t hosted another AFCON tournament since 2006. Also, they haven’t won the title since then. Surprisingly, different teams won the last four AFCON editions. For example, Zambia won the 2012 title. However, they didn’t qualify for this year’s tournament. Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco and Ivory Coast are the top five frontrunners for the 2019 AFCON title.