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The Africa Nations Cup kicks off on Saturday


It is here.

Despite the threats, both real and imagined, of Ebola, the struggle for fresh hosts and myriad facilities issues that probably won't go away until the final whistle goes, we are set for kickoff.

So how do we expect the teams to fare?

GRP A
Equatorial Guinea: Fortunate to be in the competition. Not enough quality to advance, despite support. And even that may not be intimidating enough to get them over the line.
Gabon: Steadily improving, growing in character. Buoyed by Pierre Emerick Aubemayang and Malick Evouna.
Congo: Young, inexperienced team. Experienced, wily coach. Raise their game for big opposition but tend to falter against equals. 
Burkina Faso: Tough to get behind, dangerous upfront. Should coast through. 

PREDICTION: Burkina Faso and Gabon

GROUP B
Zambia: In transition after 2012 triumph and 2013 flame out. Not exactly bubbling with confidence and there are still questions over the ability of coach Honour Janza
Tunisia: One of few sides who practically flew through qualifying. Carry on like that and they should walk the group
Cape Verde: one of the more underrated but arguably most dangerous sides in the competition. Have grown in leaps and bounds and could provide major shocks
DRC: Highlight of their qualifying run was that gritty road win over Côte d'Ivoire. Showed at once their offensive capabilities, and defensive frailties.

PREDICTION: Tunisia and Cape Verde

GROUP C
Ghana: bombing out in the first round is not an option for the Black Stars. Hard to best, fight to the end. When they are not fighting within. Inexperienced coach, skilled, hard as nails squad.

Algeria: Acknowledged as Africa's in-form team, the tag has burdened many a team going into an African Nation's Cup. 

South Africa: Full of confidence and verve after qualifying in some style. But when have they never been.

Senegal: Awesome firepower, despite the deplorable absence of Diafra Sakho. It's at the other end that their vulnerabilities could prove costly

PREDICTION: Algeria and Ghana

GROUP D
CIV: Perrenial favourites, always underwhelming but always a shoo in for the knockout stages. Might be tough to do that this time out. Jaded players, new coach, Yaya looking out of sorts and stars eager to save themselves and avoid injury for European clubs

Mali: Top half of the draw might have favoured them. But this group could be a death knell

Cameroon: Rid of the toxic atmosphere with departures of the arrowheads Samuel Etoo and Alex Song, squad are more united and look more Indomitable by the day

Guinea: Overcame Ebola stigma to qualify and motivated to do even more. If on,y they were in the other half of the draw

PREDICTION: Cameroon and Guinea

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