Koulibaly suffers dislocated finger in Senegal training

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly dislocated his finger during training with Senegal and could miss the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations this month. The Partenopei centre-back responded to the call-up but suffered the injury in training. Calciomercato.com reports it’s not serious but the Senegal medical staff will monitor the development. Koulibaly was suspended for the match against Congo today, but he could sit out against Eswatini on March 30 too. The 29-year-old was given a one-match suspension after the 2-0 win against Roma and will therefore sit out against Crotone when Serie A resumes after the international break. Koulibaly’s return to the pitch is therefore scheduled for April 7, when the Partenopei recover the postponed first leg against Juventus.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria 2-1 South Africa – 4 Talking Points from the game

Nigeria and South Africa

Nigeria and South Africa battled it out for a spot in the semifinal of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Super Eagles running out narrow 2-1 winners in the keenly contested match at the Cairo International stadium. Goals from Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong were enough to see Gernot Rohr's men through to the last four where they would now face one of either Cote d'Ivoire or Algeria in a bid to win the title. In this piece, we shall be highlighting four talking points from the match. #1 South Africa failed to come to the party South Africa disappointed South Africa started their 2019 Nations Cup somewhat poorly by their standards, losing two of their opening three group stage matches and only

Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon: Ighalo’s brace sends Super Eagles into Afcon quarterfinals

Nigeria 3-2 Cameroon

Getty ImagesGernot Rohr's side fought back to defeat the Indomitable Lions to progress to the quarterfinals of Afcon Nigeria defeated Cameroon 3-2 in a thrilling Round of 16 fixture at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. A brace from Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi's strike were enough for the Super Eagles to see off the reigning African champions at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday. The encounter, as expected, started as a physical contest but Nigeria had the better chances in the opening minutes. The breakthrough came in the 19th through Odion Ighalo's effort, which was deflected into the back of Andre Onana’s net. After breaking the deadlock, Nigeria lost control of the game and Clarence Seedorf’s men started applying pressure for an equaliser. In the 24th minute, Clinton Njie benefitted

Madagascar provide AFCON with its most unlikely success story

Madagascar

The team from the world’s fourth largest island has reached the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations Shortly before the African Cup of Nations began the magazine France Football gathered together a handful of coaches taking a team to this tournament for the first time. One of them was Madagascar’s Nicolas Dupuis and at the end of this tête-à-tête he had a message for his fellow coaches: “Do not underestimate Madagascar, friends,” he said. It was a nice touch. But in reality people had not bothered to estimate Malagasy football ever since the national team was formed in 1947. The world’s fourth-largest island, famously rich in wildlife and poor in financial health, has never been a hotbed for sporting achievement. Qualifying for this Afcon

Senegal see off Uganda to reach quarter-finals

Senegal

Sadio Mané missed his second penalty of the 2019 competition during the match against Uganda. Senegal moved into the quarter-finals at the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday night with a 1-0 win over Uganda. Sadio Mané got the only goal of the game early in the first-half. It was his third of the tournament but he could have added to the tally had he not missed a second-half penalty. His second failure from the spot in three games produced a nervy finale to what should have been a comfortable victory for Aliou Cissé’s men who are seeking their country’s first Cup of Nations title. “We’re very happy with the result ,” said Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye. “It was a tough game because Uganda

10-man Benin upset Morocco on penalties in huge Nations Cup shock

Benin

Ten-man Benin rode their luck to eliminate heavily fancied Morocco on penalties in an extraordinary upset in the opening match of the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday. Benin advanced to quarter-finals, after four successive draws, as they outscored Morocco 4-1 in the shootout after a 1-1 stalemate at the end of extra time in the last-16 tie. The small west African nation survived a last-gasp stoppage-time penalty missed by Morocco and an extra-time dismissal to create one of the tournament’s great upsets. Defender Moise Adilehou opened the scoring to give Benin a shock 53rd-minute lead before Youssef En-Nesyri equalised after 76 minutes. Morocco should have wrapped up the game in the last minute of stoppage-time penalty but Hakim Ziyech

Africa Cup of Nations: Round of 16 fixtures, dates and timing

The Africa Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations, the continent's biggest footballing spectacle, is well underway after kicking off on the 21st of July at the home of the record champions Egypt. The group stages concluded with all pre-tournament favourites making it through to the knockout stages and with the business end of the tournament approaching, managers will be looking to fine-tune their squads in order to get their hands on African football's biggest prize. 24 teams entered the group stages and 16 of those made it through to the knockout stages. The top two teams from each of the six groups were guaranteed qualification and four best third-placed teams joined them in the Round of 16. Although most of the big teams sealed qualification, it wasn't

African Cup Of Nations 2019: 3 Reasons why Ivory Coast won against South Africa

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast got off to a winning start in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Group D rivals South Africa at the Al Salam Stadium, Cairo. The only goal of the game was scored by Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia in the second half, after missing a sitter in the first half, when he let a shot rip directly at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. The Elephants were clearly the favorites in the tie, but Bafana Bafana made sure that the 2015 champions had to earn the three points and put up a good fight, eventually caving in to the attacking pressure from the Ivorians. Surprisingly, Crystal Palace's Wilfred Zaha was not named in the starting XI by coach

Ivory Coast v South Africa: Baxter fires warning as past winners collide

Stuart Baxter

Stuart Baxter has warned South Africa's Group D rivals his side are not intimidated, despite their poor recent record at the Africa Cup of Nations. The 1996 winners have made it through to the quarter-finals just once in the last eight editions of the tournament and failed to even qualify in 2017. They begin their quest for a second AFCON crown against Ivory Coast at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Monday, before taking on Namibia and a much-fancied Morocco side. South Africa have not managed to make it past the group stage in four of their last five AFCON appearances but British coach Baxter, who is in his second spell in charge, is adamant his side will give everything they have to

African Cup of Nations 2019: Nigeria vs Burundi – 5 Talking Points

Nigeria

Only a few hours ago, Nigeria took all three points against underdogs Burundi in a hotly contested match at Alexandria Stadium in Egypt. Olivier Niyungeko's players kept the Super Eagles from succeeding in front of goal until a 77th-minute poacher's effort by Odion Ighalo. While Nigeria were expected to beat Burundi without batting an eye, the reality was certainly different. While Burundi remain debutants in this competition, they have proven that they cannot be tossed aside easily. The Eagles found it difficult putting the ball in the net and faltered consistently in the final third. Burundi's defence kept Nigeria at bay almost throughout the game and they deserve the credit for losing by only one goal. However, the best player for Burundi was Gael

AFCON 2019: 3 reasons behind Nigeria’s 1-0 win against Burundi

Nigeria 1-0 Burundi

Nigeria earned a scrappy win in their opening Africa Cup of Nations fixture against a resolute Burundi side with Odion Ighalo scoring the in the 77th minute despite being named on the bench. Samuel Chukwueze threatened to cause early damage as he glided past Duhaindavy and the adjacent midfielder to cut inside from the right flank. He was not able to take a shot, but his penetrating run provided an initial impetus to the Super Eagles. The Villareal winger forced a superb save from Jonathan Nahimana. Against the run of play, Burundi were inches away from gaining an unexpected lead as Shasir Nahimana's exquisite aerial through ball found Cedric Amissi who failed to score past the Nigerian midfielder. Despite showing plenty of energy, Obi Mikel's side

AFCON 2019: Egypt 1-0 Zimbabwe: 5 Hits and Flops

Egypt 1-0 Zimbabwe

Egypt has begun its bid for the eighth Africa Cup of Nations title with a hard-fought 1-0 win against a spirited Zimbabwe side. The hosts made a rollicking start against the Warriors, forcing their keeper into a string of good saves. Soon, Zimbabwe found their footing in the game and organised themselves into a compact defensive unit. The Egyptians' vibrancy in attack faded out after 20 minutes into the game- and they struggled to create clear cut chances against the opposing centre-back duo of Mudimu and Hadebe. Not only did they defended well, but the Zimbabweans also had a lucid plan of counter-attacking from the wider areas. The Egyptians had to be alert defensively to cut out the attacking threats of Ovidy Karuru and Nyasha Musekwi. A moment

Guinea v Madagascar: Put wary of Africa Cup of Nations debutants

Paul Put

Paul Put has warned his Guinea side against complacency ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations opener with Madagascar. Guinea failed to qualify for the 2017 edition of the tournament but managed to reach the quarter-final stage in 2015. Tournament debutants Madagascar are first up in Group B, which also includes Burundi and Nigeria. And Put, who also confirmed Liverpool midfielder and Guinea captain Naby Keita should be fit to feature in Alexandria, is wary of Madagascar's threat. "The first match is always very important because it will give us confidence to head into the rest of the tournament," he told a news conference. "But, it is also dangerous because we are playing against a side that is regarded as an underdog and most of

Nigeria v Burundi: Rohr wary of tournament debutants

Nigeria

Gernot Rohr has warned Nigeria to be wary of Africa Cup of Nations debutants Burundi as his side begin their bid for a fourth continental crown. The Super Eagles won the most recent of their three titles six years ago but failed to qualify for the last two editions of the competition. After topping a qualifying group that included South Africa, Libya and Seychelles, however, Nigeria are ranked among the favourites to go all the way in Egypt. But Rohr's men enter the tournament on the back of a 1-0 loss to Senegal - ending a year-long eight-match unbeaten run - and the veteran coach of four African nations is not taking Burundi lightly. "Beating Burundi in the first game will help stabilize the

How The Africa Cup Of Nations’ Summer Move Will Affect Its Premier League Stars

Egyptian hopes are on the shoulders of Liverpool striker Mo Salah

Egyptian hopes are on the shoulders of Liverpool striker Mo Salah The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations gets underway when hosts Egypt take on Zimbabwe on Friday night. Preparations for the tournament have been far from plain sailing, Cameroon having been stripped of hosting rights back in November. The new format has seen the number of teams participating increase from 16 to 24, bringing it closer in line with the European Championships. Timing has also proved a bone of contention. The start date was moved back six days to allow players who had fasted during Ramadan to recover, but more pertinently, AFCON has been transferred to the summer months, where it used to take place in January and February. That will come as a major

Afcon 2019: Egypt needs to shed Mohamed Salah dependence

The Pharaohs' reliance on the Liverpool star was their undoing at the 2018 World Cup, and they risk faltering if he doesn’t fire The 2018 World Cup in Russia promised a lot for Hector Cuper’s Egypt side. On the face of it, they’d been drawn in a relatively straightforward group which comprised host nation Russia, Uruguay, and Saudi Arabia. That factor, coupled with the fact the North Africans’ top player Mohamed Salah was set to feature at the showpiece on the backend of arguably the greatest individual season in Premier League history, was seemingly to the Pharaohs' benefit. In his maiden campaign at Liverpool, the Wideman scored a staggering 32 goals in the league – the highest for a 38 game season – and was deservedly named PFA Players’ Player of

2019 AFCON: The tournament will be like a war – Nigeria winger Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi

Nigeria forward Alex Iwobi stated that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will be a serious battle as 24 countries compete for the ultimate crown. For the first time since its inception, there will be 24 teams at the Afcon finals including the Super Eagles. The West Africans are set to return to the continental stage since 2013 and they have been placed in Group B against debutants Burundi, Madagascar and Guinea. Ahead of their opening fixture against Burundi on June 22, Iwobi disclosed that the tournament will not be an easy ride for any team in Egypt. “Everyone is saying on paper that we should go through and qualify [from Group B] but we know it is not going to be easy,” Iwobi told NFF media. “Every team is there to try and

Ighalo Highlights The Key Qualities Of Super Eagles ‘Legend’ Obi Mikel

John Obi Mikel

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo is pleased that Chelsea hero John Obi Mikel returned to the Super Eagles ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.  Mikel has not played competitively for the three-time African champions since June 26, 2018 when he went the distance against Argentina at the World Cup in Russia.  Ighalo has hailed the qualities of the experienced midfielder, saying all strikers will like to have him in the line-up.''He is our captain, he is a good leader, it's great to have him back, the motivation he brings to the team,'' Ighalo told the Super Eagles Media team.   ''He didn't play the qualifiers, we did well without him, him joining us is a big plus because teams in Africa

AFCON 2019 cities, stadia: Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia

AFCON 2019

Tournaments, the nature of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON; are awarded to countries but they are technically decentralized to cities within these countries by organizing committees. The benefits that come with cities getting to host such tournaments is multi-pronged. Firstly, such cities get infrastructural boost with the revamping and building of new social amenities as tourists are expected to troop in. The local economy also benefits from the influx of people coming to patronize the tournaments from the hospitality, catering and entertainment industries etc. they all stand as beneficiaries. In less than a week to the start of AFCON 2019 in Egypt, we present brief profiles of the cities and stadia that are set to host the six groups in what is a historic tournament

CAF: AFCON 2019 will observe cooling breaks due to soaring heat

The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF

The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, says it will apply a FIFA rule that allows for two cooling/water breaks during games as a means to combat rising temperatures across host nation, Egypt. CAF said two three-minute breaks on the half-hour mark and on the 75th-minute mark will be observed during fixtures. A media advisory title “Medical Report on Temperature during AFCON” read in part: “… the average (dry) temperature in June / July is expected to be between 35°C, with the average humidity of 40% to 60%. “This will give a high WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe) temperature above 32°C. It is certain that most teams will be aware of this and train accordingly,” the advisory added. Main highlights of what goes into the water breaks Would be observed on 30th, 75th minutesIt