Group F of the 2019 AFCON also presents another case of underdogs versus favorites. Guinea-Bissau and Benin will aim to upset defending champions Cameroon and four-time winners Ghana.
What is the history of the Group F teams in the AFCON?
Cameroon is the defending champion of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Indomitable Lions secured the title by defeating this year’s hosts Egypt in the final of the previous edition in Gabon. As a result, they took their trophy counts to five, having won the 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002 editions of the tournament.
In all, Cameroon has qualified for the finals 19 times, its first being in 1970 tournament held in Sudan. Aside the trophies accrued, the West Africans have finished as runners-up on two occasions, bronze medalists on one occasion and in fourth place once.
Bar the upcoming finals in Egypt, Benin has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations thrice. The Squirrels first-ever appearance was at Tunisia 2004 and was followed by Ghana 2008. Two years later, they featured in the tournament successively for the first time in their history in Angola.
Benin has never made it out of the group stages in any of their previous appearances.
Guinea-Bissau will be making just a second appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations in its all-time history. The Djurtus made their debut two years ago in Gabon where they featured alongside Burkina Faso, Cameroon and host nation Gabon in Group A.
After managing just a point in the campaign, Guinea-Bissau was eliminated from the competition.
Ghana is the third-most decorated team at the Africa Cup of Nations with four titles. The Black Stars won their first trophy when they debuted in 1963 and defended it back-to-back in 1965. The third and fourth AFCON titles were secured in 1978 and 1982 respectively.
An ill-fortune has seen the Ghanaians finishing as runners-up five times (in 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010, and 2015). Interestingly, the Black Stars have made it to the semifinals in each of the last six editions of the Africa championship.
Who are the favorites to qualify from Group F?
Ghana and Cameroon are two formidable sides capable of going all the way to the final in this year’s tournament. As a result, it will take unprecedented turn of events to see both crumble.
The Black Stars, in particular, have their sights set on a seventh consecutive semifinal berth and are optimistic about their chances of winning the trophy for the first time in over three decades. Their qualification campaign, as well as that of Cameroon, was far from convincing.
However, their reputation could certainly give them an edge coming up against Guinea-Bissau and Benin who have never made it out of the group stages in the competition.