Giants Cote d’ Ivoire and Egypt lock horns today in the Round of 16 in the ongoing Total Energy’s Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021, as it gathers full momentum.
Not only are the two the continent’s biggest guns with nine titles between them, The Elephants and The Pharaohs also have the most number of appearances in AFCON history.
At the Japoma stadium and after beating Algeria, the Elephants will face Egypt that did not impress in the group stage.
After losing 0-1 against Nigeria in their first match, Egypt won narrowly 1-0 against Guinea Bissau and Sudan to reach the Round of 16.
But it’s a totally different story now. Egypt remains a formidable opponent and the Ivorians know that the Pharaohs have often blocked their way in the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
For their fifth AFCON title, the Pharaohs at home beat the Elephants in the 2006 final on penalties, and two years later for their sixth continental trophy, the Egyptians knocked out the Ivorians in the semi-finals in Ghana 2008.
Enough for the Elephants to be cautious in this Round of 16 even if they managed an almost perfect match (3-1) against Les Fennecs of Algeria.
Unlike Egypt, Côte d' Ivoire did not lose any of their matches during the group stage and gave the impression of gaining momentum at the start of the competition.
And in addition, with three games played on this lawn and two games won, the Ivorian team has taken its bearings to face any opponent whether it is Egypt or another.
Mali v Equatorial Guinea
THE final round-of-16 clash of the Africa Cup of Nations sees Mali and Equatorial Guinea go head to head at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium today.
The National Thunder are capable of causing a few upsets following their impressive group stage run, while the Malians will be seeking to move one step closer to conquering the continent for the first time in their history.
Mali will be delighted with their run at the Africa Cup of Nations so far and will hope this will be the year they end their wait for continental glory and walk away with the title.
The West Africans got their campaign underway on January 12 when they claimed a hard-earned 1-0 win over Tunisia courtesy of a 48th-minute penalty from Ibrahima Kone.
This was followed by a 1-1 draw with Gambia in Limbe four days later before securing a comfortable 2-0 victory over Mauritania in their group final last time out.