Cameroon vs Burkina Faso (Group A)
Sun, 16:00 GMT
Ethiopia vs Cape Verde (Group A)
Sun, 19:00 GMT
All games live on Sky Sports
Two close encounters on the cards
The African Nations Cup kicks-off on Sunday and the opening game is a fascinating encounter between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
We’re fans of this Indomitable Lions side and in our look at the outright markets we were happy to tip Cameroon as potential winners. There are some excellent players in the host nation’s line-up and their recent form is good.
Cameroon are W6-D1-L1 from their last eight internationals. They also have a settled line-up and should be at full strength here.
Yet Burkina Faso cannot be discounted. Like Cameroon, they also benefit from a fairly settled line-up heading into the finals, and have also had a relatively problem-free final week or so ahead of the tournament.
As hosts, Cameroon are under pressure to make a winning start. The same simply doesn’t apply to Burkina Faso: the underdogs would see a draw as an excellent result knowing they have easier games to come vs Ethopia and Cape Verde (who meet in the opening day’s other game).
It would be no surprise to see Burkina Faso sit back and invite Cameroon to come at them, then look to attack on the break. In that regard, Issa Kabore would be a player to watch: the Troyes right-back, on loan from Manchester City, is a speedily effective presence on the flank for Burkina Faso.
Cameroon are 1.574/7 to win, with Burkina Faso 7.26/1 and The Draw 3.613/5. The prices looks about right, making none of the selections especially appealing.
The goals markets may offer better value. The African Nations Cup is notoriously low-scoring and there’s some sense in backing both of the opening day’s games to feature few goals.
Across the last three African Nations finals (2015, 2017, 2019), 75% of all group games (63/84 matches) have had two goals or fewer.
In total, 32/84 matches (38%) have had exactly two goals, with 31/84 (37%) featuring one goal or no goals.
Given how strongly those stats point towards group encounters being low scoring, we’re happy to back Under 2.0 on the Goals Lines markets on both Group A games. Odds around evens will be available and, as the historic stats indicate, you stand a good chance of making a profit.
Cameroon’s squad contains no Premier League players, although the Championship will be represented via Middlesbrough’s on-loan midfielder James Lea-Siliki. The 25-year-old is expected to start on the bench.
Burkina Faso’s star player is Aston Villa’s Bertrand Traore, although there are doubts whether the talisman will start: Traore has missed Burkina Faso’s last nine internationals through a series of injury problems, and may not be risked here as he looks to regain full fitness.
There are no Premier League representatives in the day’s other game between Ethiopia and Cape Verde.