Group C: Can Kenya cause an upset?

Author: Bernard Neequaye
Sadio Mane is expected to lead Senegal

It is expected to be one of the interesting and keenly contested groups at this year’s AFCON with countries such as Senegal, Algeria and Kenya all bracing up for the tournament in good spirits.

Tanzania are the main underdog in Group C despite Kenya having a little chance of qualification with giants Senegal and Algeria preferred to make the knockout stage.

The Teranga Lions of Senegal are one of the favourites to win this year’s continental tournament with a lot of experienced players to their credit and are tipped to top the group.

With surprises usually occuring at AFCON tournaments, Kenya could battle Algeria for a place in the knockout phase of the competition despite the North Africans standing tall on paper.

It will however be one of the groups to watch in Egypt when the tournament finally kicks off on June 21.

Road to Egypt

Senegal qualified to this year’s edition of the AFCON undefeated in six matches in Group A of the qualifiers with 16 points to their credit.

The Teranga Lions roared to a single draw against Madagascar and won all remaining five matches to end the qualifiers as six points leaders.

Algeria on the other hand topped Group D of the qualifiers with 11 points while Kenya finished second in Group F to Ghana with seven points to make it to the continental competition.

Tanzania on the other hand placed runners up to Uganda during their Group L qualifiers with eight points.

AFCON History

Senegal are yet to lift the AFCON trophy despite being one of the best countries in the sport on the continent and their best result at the tournament being a runners up finish in 2002.

The Teranga Lions will be making their 15th appearance at the competition and hope to build on their fourth-placed finish in 2006 after losing out to Cameroun on penalties in their last outing in 2017.

Algeria are one time winners of the tournament in 1990 and will be hoping their 18th appearance ends their 29-year wait for the crown.

Having failed to qualify from the group stages in the last edition of the competition, the Desert Warriors are willing to make the knockout stage of the tournament by making a significant impact.

Kenya on the other hand has never made it past the group stages of the AFCON and their sixth appearance this time around could be different.

The Harambee Stars of Kenya will be making their return to the competiton after 15 years of absence since last participating in 2004 and this year’s tournament marks their sixth appearance.

Tanzania having competed in the AFCON once in 1980 will be mkaing their second appearance and will be hoping to leave a mark.

Key Players

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane, will be an inspirational captain to Senegal after an impressive season that saw him lift the UEFA Champions League with his club.

Algeria will rely on the services of Manchester City player Riyad Mahrez to deliver at the tournament after winning three domestic trophies with the English side this season.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Victor Wanyama, is expected to lead his Kenyan side at the compeition.
Genk striker, Mbwana Samatta, who doubles as the skipper of Tanzania will be instrumental for his team’s chances.


Coach

Senegal: Aliou Cissé

Algeria: Djamel Belmadi

Kenya: Sébastien Migné

Tanzania: Emmanuel Amunike

Prediction

Senegal and Nigeria remain favourites to win the group with their vast experience at the tournament despite Kenya’s committment to causing upset.