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Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Thomas Partey have been among the stars on show at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with the latest instalment of the prestigious competition having started on January 9, 2022.
The tournament had initially been scheduled for the summer of 2021, before being moved to January of that year, but problems caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic mean that it has been shifted for a second time.
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Plenty of household names are setting their sights on the ultimate prize in Cameroon, in a race to the final on February 6, but who is best placed to get their hands on a continental crown? GOAL takes a look at the runners and riders.
Who are favourites to win Afcon 2021?
Senegal have never savoured Africa Cup of Nations glory, despite boasting some elite players down the years and reaching two finals, but they are fancied to go well this time around.
A squad that includes Liverpool forward Mane, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy are 4/1 (5.00) joint-favourites to bring their long wait for tangible success to a close despite registering just one goal in the competition so far.
They are joined at the top of a tight betting market by hosts Cameroon, who were another of those to go through the group stage unbeaten, with the Indomitable Lions ready to roar.
Who are the other contenders for Afcon 2021?
Ivory Coast once looked to the likes of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure for inspiration, but Nicolas Pepe, Sebastien Haller and Franck Kessie are now leading the charge and The Elephants are 7/1 (8.00) to go all the way.
Egypt - the most successful nation in Afcon history and with Liverpool star Salah a talismanic presence in their ranks - did sit among the pre-tournament frontrunners, but they have drifted out to 12/1 (13.00) after finding goals hard to come by.
Mali, who saw Ibrahima Kone score a penalty in each of their three group games, are a little shorter than the Pharaohs at 10/1 (11.00), while Tunisia – who stumbled into the last 16 on the back of a third-place finish – are now 20/1 (21.00) after being handed a tough route to the final.
Who are the outsiders for Afcon 2021 glory?
Burkina Faso will, at 40/1 (41.00), need fortune to favour them if they are to go close, while Guinea, Gambia and Gabon – with the latter having to cope without the services of Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – are all available at 50/1 (51.00).
Equatorial Guinea helped to dump out reigning champions Algeria at the group stage, but are 200/1 (201.00) to claim the end prize, while tournament debutants Comoros – who have already sent Ghana packing - are rank outsiders at 250/1 (251.00).
Odds correct at the time of writing on 06/01/2022. 18+. begambleaware.org