The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament is set to finally get underway on the 9th of January to the 6th February 2022 in Cameroon where it will be played in five (5) cities across six (6) stadiums.
The 2021 AFCON edition was to happen in June to July 2021 but later changed to the 9th January till the 6th of February 2021 due to high climate conditions in the host country of Cameroon. It was later moved from 2021 to 2022 January to February due to the high increase in numbers of the covid 19 cases across Africa.
We take a look at group A teams and their preparations towards the start of the much anticipated tournament.
Cameroon – The Indomitable Lions set to roar on home soil
Cameroon the host nation qualified to the 2021 AFCON tournament as winners of the Group F in the qualifiers. The Indomitable Lions who hold five AFCON trophies under their name will be under Portuguese coach Antonio da Silva Oliveira as they aim at winning the sixth trophy from home soils.
The Indomitable Lions will be captained by Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choup Moting in a star studded squad of professional based players in a 28 man squad as selected by their head coach.
Cameroon will take on Burkina Faso in their opening match of the tournament at the Stade Omnisport Paul Biya / Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.
Here is the full squad for Cameroon.
Goalkeepers: Simon Omossola (AS Vita Club, DR Congo), Devis Epassy (OFI Crete, Greece), Andre Onana (Ajax, Netherlands).
Defenders: Collins Fai (Standard Liege, Belgium), Olivier Mbaizo (Philadelphia Union, USA), Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui (Gent, Belgium), JC Castelletto (Nantes, France), Harold Moukoudi (St Etienne, France), Enzo Ebosse (Angers, France), Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo (Montpellier, France), Jerome Onguene (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders, USA).
Midfielders: Jean Onana Junior (Bordeaux, France), Malong Kunde (Olympiakos, Greece), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Napoli, Italy), Samuel Gouet Oum (Mechelen, Belgium), Martin Hongla (Hellas Verona, Italy), James Lea Siliki (Middlesbrough, England), Yvan Neyou (St Etienne, France).
Forwards: Ignatius Ganago (Lens, France), Christian Bassogog (Shanghai Shenua, China), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich, Germany), Stephane Bahoken (Angers, France), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Lyon, France), Moumi Ngamaleu (Young Boys, Switzerland), Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nasr, Saudi Arabia), Clinton Njie (Dinamo Moscow, Russia).
Head coach – Antonio da Silva Oliveira
Burkina Faso – The stallions eager to replicate 2013 memories.
Burkina Faso are nicknamed the stallions and their main target will be aiming at surpassing or equalling their best ever performance at the AFCON tournament which they achieved in the 2013 edition where they lost the final 1-0 to Nigeria.
The stallions head coach Kamou Malo named a provisional 29 man squad including the return of striker Bertrand Traore who has recently made his return from injury but they will miss the services of Lassina Traore due to injury and Bryan Dabo also out injured.
GOALKEEPERS: Hervé Kouakou KOFFI (Sporting de Charleroi, Belgium), Farid Sofiane OUÉDRAOGO (Majestic SC, Burkina Faso), Kilian NIKIEMA (ADO Den Haag, Netherlands), Aboubacar Babayouré SAWADOGO (RC Kadiogo, Burkina Faso)
DEFENDERS: Edmond TAPSOBA (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Issoufou DAYO (RS Berkane, Morocco), Yacouba Nasser DJIGA (FC Basel, Switzerland), Soumaïla OUATTARA (FUS de Rabat, Morocco), Steeve YAGO (Aris Limassol, Cyprus), Issa KABORE (Troyes, France), Patrick MALO (Hassania Agadir, Morocco), Oula Abass TRAORÉ (Horoya AC, Guinea), Hermann NIKIEMA (SALITAS FC, Burkina Faso)
MIDFIELDERS: Gustavo Fabrice SANGARÉ (Quevilly-Rouen, France), Dramane NIKIEMA (Horoya AC, Guinea), Adama GUIRA (Racing Rioja CF, Spain), Blati TOURÉ (AFC Eskilstuna, Sweden), Ismahila OUEDRAOGO (PAOK Salonika, Greece), Saïdou SIMPORÉ (Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt)
FORWARDS: Bertrand TRAORÉ (Aston Villa, England), Zakaria SANOGO (Ararat-Armenia, Armenia), Cyrille BAYALA (AC Ajaccio , France), Éric TRAORE (Pyramids FC, Egypt), Mohamed KONATE (Akhmat Grozny, Russia), Dango Aboubacar Faissal OUATTARA (FC Lorient, France), Boureima Hassane BANDÉ (NK Istra, Croatia), Abdoul Fessal TAPSOBA (Standard de Liège, Belgium), Jean Botué Fiacre KOUAMÉ (AC Ajaccio, France), Cheick Djibril OUATTARA (Olympique de Safi, Morocco)
Head coach – Kamou Malo
Cape Verde – Group A underdogs
Cape Verde look to be group A under dogs as they make their third appearance in AFCON tournament but they have missed the last two editions having made their debut appearance in 2013, they went on to feature in the 2015 edition but missed out on the 2017 and 2019 editions.
They are led by the home grown coach Pedro Brito Bubista who summoned a 26 man squad with no home based players.
Their chances of making it out of the group stages are limited due as they will battle with hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso who have experience in such tournaments.
Here is the Full Cape Verde squad
Goalkeepers: Vozinha (AEL Limassol, Cyprus), Marcio da Rosa (Montalegre, Portugal), Keven Ramos (Mindelese, Cape Verde).
Defenders: Stopira (Fehervar, Hungary), Steven Fortes (Oostende, Belgium), Jeffry Fortes (De Graafschap, Netherlands), Steve Furtado (Beroe, Bulgaria), Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers, Republic of Ireland), Joao Paulo Fernandes (Feirense, Portugal), Diney Borges (AS Far, Morocco), Ponck (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Dylan Tavares (Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland).
Midfielders: Kenny Rocha (Oostende, Belgium), Nuno Borges (Casa Pia, Portugal), Patrick Andrade (Qarabag, Azerbaijan), Jamiro Monteior (Philadelphia Union, USA), Nenass (Aalesund, Norway), Marco Soares (Arouca, Portugal).
Forwards: Ryan Mendes (Al Nasr, UAE), Willy Semedo (Pafos, Cyprus), Gilson Tavares (Estoril-Praia, Portugal), Willis Furtado (FK Jerv, Norway), Julio Tavares (Al Faisaly, Saudi Arabia), Garry Rodrigues (Olympiakos, Greece), Lisandro Semedo (Fortuna Sittard, Netherlands), Djaniny Semedo (Trabzonspor, Turkey)
Head coach – Pedro Brito Bubista
Ethiopia – The Walias
Ethiopia started early preparations for AFCON and were the first team to touch base in Cameroon as they arrived on the 26th of December in the host nation. Their head coach Wubetu Abate named a 25man squad dominated by locally based players who feature in the Ethiopian top flight league.
They will open up their AFCON campaign against the underdogs of Cape Verde in a match which will decide on who will finish above one another as they will be in the battle for the best placed third place finish so as to make the round of 16 slots.
Here is the Full Ethiopia squad
Goalkeepers: Teklemariam Shanko (Sidama Coffee, Ethiopia), Fasil Gebremichael (Bahir Dar Ketema, Ethiopia), Jemal Tassew (Adama Ketema, Ethiopia).
Defenders: Asrat Tunjo (Ethiopian Coffee, Ethiopia), Suleiman Hamid (St George, Ethiopia), Remedan Yesouf (Wolkite K, Ethiopia), Desta Yohannes (Adama K, Ethiopia), Aschalew Tamene (Fasil K, Ethiopia), Yared Bayeh (Fasil K, Ethiopia), Mignot Debebe (St George, Ethiopia), Menaf Awol (Bahir Dar K, Ethiopia).
Midfielders: Amanuel Yohannes (Ethiopian Coffee, Ethiopia), Gatuoch Panom (St George, Ethiopia), Shemeles Bekele (El Gouna, Egypt), Mesoud Mohammed (Jimma AJ, Ethiopia), Fitsum Alemu (Bahir Dar K, Ethiopia), Firew Solomon (Sidama Coffee, Ethiopia), Bezabeh Meleyou (Fasil K, Ethiopia).
Forwards: Abubeker Nassir (Ethiopian Coffee, Ethiopia), Getaneh Kebede (Wolkite K, Ethiopia), Amanuel Gebremichael (St George, Ethiopia), Shemeket Gugsa (Fasil K, Ethiopia), Mujib Kassim (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Mesfin Taffese (Hawassa K, Ethiopia), Dawa Hottesa (Adama K, Ethiopia).
Head coach – Wubetu Abate