Having ended their 23-year wait for an Africa Cup of Nations trophy in Equatorial Guinea last time out, Ivory Coast are once again the team to beat when the tournament kicks off in Gabon this week.
That long-awaited success was a second in history for Les Elephants, who are rightful 7/2 (4.50) favourites with bet365 to make it two in a row when they defend their crown this year.
Even without retired brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure, Michel Dussuyer’s star-studded team should prove too strong for a group that includes a DR Congo 25/1 (26.00) missing Yannick Bolasie, Morocco 16/1 (17.00) that has not won the title since 1976, and Togo 100/1 (101.00) whose star man Emmanuel Adebayor has been without a club since June 2016.
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With current African Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez starring in a squad that also boasts talents such as Islam Slimani, Yacine Brahimi and Faouzi Ghoulam, the Fennecs would certainly see their 7/1 (8.00) price slashed considerably should they make it through a tough group.
The same can be said for a Senegalese team spearheaded by Liverpool’s in-form Sadio Mane, although a poor recent record in this competition suggests head coach Aliou Cisse has his work cut out to claim a first trophy in the nation’s history.
Drawn in a fairly open group alongside Burkina Faso 25/1 (26.00), Guinea-Bissau 100/1 (101.00) and a Cameroon 15/2 (8.50) that has struggled to call upon the services of some of its best players, hosts Gabon 8/1 (9.00) should be able to give the home crowd some cheer should Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit top form.