AFCON 2019 - Group A Preview

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Mitch Freeley

You can watch every game from the 2019 AFCON via beIN CONNECT

 

Ahead of the 2019 AFCON, we have decided to profile every side taking part in the tournament. Logically, we have gone with Group A first as hosts Egypt look to win an eighth continental crown and will face DR Congo, Zimbabwe and Uganda in their Group. 

 

DR Congo
Nickname – The Leopards
Best Performance -  Winners (1968, 1974)

Head Coach - Florent Ibengé

Florent Ibengé has been in charge of the Leopards since 2014, combining duties with domestic side Vita Club.  Ibengé, who has also had a stint managing CSL side Shanghai Shenhua guided DR Congo to the 2016 African Nations Championship, and confidence will be high in the side that they will be able to navigate their way out of group A and into the knockout phase.

Key Man - Cédric Bakambu

Bakambu surprised many when he traded Villarreal for Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Superleague. Yet the 28-year-old has taken to life in China scoring 23 goals in 27 league appearances. Bakambu is set to lead the line for the Leopards in Egypt, and an impressive performance could tempt a host of big-name sides to make an offer for the hitman.

Fixtures

DR Congo Vs Uganda  –  6/22/19 –  17:30 – beIN CONNECT
Egypt Vs DR Congo – 6/26/19 – 23:00 – beIN CONNECT
Zimbabwe Vs DR Congo – 7/1/19 – 19:00 - beIN CONNECT

Egypt
Nickname- The Pharaohs
Best Performance – Winners (7) 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010

Head Coach - Javier Aguirre

Experienced Mexican coach Aguirre took the reins of the Pharaohs in August 2018 following Héctor Cúper’s departure after the World Cup. The 60-year-old coach has managed across the world including international jobs with his native Mexico, along with Japan who he guided to the quarter-finals of the 2015 Asian Cup.  The pressure will certainly be on Aguirre to deliver an eighth Cup of Nations for Egypt especially with the tournament taking place on home soil. 

Key Man – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah will be the man that many Egyptians look to for inspiration. Having won the  Champions League and finishing just behind Manchester City in the Premier League along with claiming the golden boot in the league it’s been another stellar year for the Liverpool attacker.

However, at international level, it’s been frustrating for the Pharaoh's captain. Having been rushed back from an arm injury suffered in last season’s Champions League final, Salah failed to hit his stride at the World Cup. However, Egypt fans will be hoping that a fully fit Salah can fire their nation to AFCON Glory. 

Fixtures

Egypt Vs Zimbabwe – 6/21/19 –  23:00 – beIN CONNECT
Egypt Vs DR Congo – 6/26/19 – 23:00 – beIN CONNECT
Uganda Vs Egypt – 6/30/19 – 22:00 - beIN CONNECT


Uganda
Nickname – The Cranes
Best Performance – Runners-Up 1978

Head Coach - Sébastien Desabre

French coach Sébastien Desabre took the reins of the Cranes prior to the 2018 AFCON tournament and has been at the helm ever since. The well-travelled tactician has had stints with some of Africa’s biggest club sides including Esperance of Tunisia and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.  After failing to get Uganda out of the group stage during in 2017, a place in the knockout phase is the target for Desabre. 

Key Man - Denis Onyango

Cranes captain Denis Onyango will be looking to make an impact for his side in Egypt. The goalkeeper plays his club football with South African side Mamelodi Sundowns and won the CAF Champions League in 2016. This season the 34-year old stopper won the CAF goalkeeper of the year as Sundowns won the South African Premier League. 

Fixtures

DR Congo  Vs  Uganda  –  6/22/19 –  17:30 – beIN CONNECT
Uganda  Vs  Zimbabwe  – 6/26/19 – 20:00 – beIN CONNECT
Uganda  Vs Egypt – 6/30/19 – 20:00 - beIN CONNECT


Zimbabwe 
Nickname –Warriors 
Best Performance -  Group stage (2004, 2006, 2017)

Head Coach - Sunday Chidzambwa

Sunday Chidzambwa is in his fourth stint as Warriors boss having lead the side at their first ever AFCON tournament in 2004. The vastly experienced Chidzambwa has also managed several club sides in South Africa. The 67-year old veteran has also previously been banned by FIFA for match-fixing. 

Key Man - Knowledge Musona

Warriors captain Knowledge Musona will be hoping to fire his nation to AFCON glory. Musona has enjoyed stints in South Africa with Kaiser Chiefs and in Europe with Hoffenheim & Oostende. Musonda has 22 goals in just 34 international appearances and his goal getting instincts will be crucial if Zimbabwe is to navigate out of a tricky looking Group A against hosts Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo. 

Fixtures

Egypt Vs Zimbabwe –  6/21/19 –  23:00 – beIN CONNECT
Uganda Vs Zimbabwe – 6/26/19 – 20:00 – beIN CONNECT
Zimbabwe Vs DR Congo – 6/30/19 – 22:00 - beIN CONNECT


You can watch all the action from the 2019 AFCON from Egypt via beIN CONNECT.