African Nations in the World Cup – Ivory Coast lead 2010 charge

11th January 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Betting & Odds
World Cup Betting & Odds

With 31 players from the Premier League involved in the African Cup of nations, the terrible tragedy of the attack on the Togo team bus, has lead clubs to call for their players to come back. Togo and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was on the bus that was attacked with gunfire, but escaped without physical injury. But because of the tragedy, Toga has decided to pull out from the African Cup of Nations. World Cup boss Danny Jordaan has insisted that there is nothing to be fearful of in terms of safety surrounding the 2010 World Cup, despite the ramifications that this attack will have brought about. If everything stopped after tragedies, then nothing positive would ever get accomplished. Togo’s first match in the African Cup of Nations would have been against Ghana on Monday.

The African Cup of Nations, started on Sunday, January 10th with a match between hosts Angola and Mali, which ended in an incredible 4-4 draw, gave a glimpse of just how exciting African football is. The CAF, the governing body of African football has pressed ahead with the tournament, although it is likely that 2010 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Still, with the cream of African football on display in Angola, it does offer a good insight into how the top African nations may fare at the World Cup 2010. Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon are all heading down to South Africa in June for the World Cup, and the England management staff, as well as other nations and scouts from club levels, will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on the competition. Here we will take a look at just how this valuable preparation can be for the African teams involved in the World Cup. Unlike most other nations in the World Cup, the Africans have the chance to play competitive football.

IVORY COAST – 28/1 at BetFred
Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR, Ivory Coast, Portugal
Their star player is Chelsea’s Didier Drogba of course. They are seen as Africa’s strongest hopes in getting to the World Cup finals. How realistic that is though, remains to be seen. They got the roughest draw of the African nations, being lined up in a group alongside Brazil and Portugal. Their opening World Cup match against Portugal, could be the crunch one of the group, as many will expect that will almost be a second place play-off. The Ivory Coast failed to make too much of an impact in their last World Cup outing, but should be a lot stronger this time around. It didn’t help that they were in a group with Holland and Argentine, and again then have gotten the short straw by being in the same group as Brazil and Portugal. Still, Les Elephants can be more than a handful themselves, and as favourites for the African Cup of Nations, if they win that, they will have a lot to build upon. Qualification for the World Cup was a breeze for them, with Didier Drogba in the thick of things, banging in six goals in five qualification matches. They have big names playing across Europe and if they can get their noses in front by beating Portugal in their opening match, they could be good quality for at least a quarter final visit.

GHANA – 80/1 at Totesport
Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
Michael Essien is the stand out player in the Ghana side, as well as being arguably one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. The Black Stars are probably a more accomplished side than the Ivory Coast. The difference between Ghana and the other African nations, is that they play probably less of an attacking, but more of an accomplished all round game. They made the biggest impact at Germany 2006, despite losing to both Germany and Italy, and the midfield is where they are strongest. Essien contributes a lot of that, and that is the strengths they should play for. They do have quality up front as well, but probably play the tightest game of the African participants. They have won the African Cup of Nations four times in their history, and they got stronger through qualification for the World Cup as it went. They can seriously challenge for the African Cup of Nations along with Ivory Coast, and they are growing in stature and ability. They were a young side at Germany 2006, and are therefore much more experienced. A good draw in the group stages for them, and if they hit the ground running, they can be dangerous.

ALGERIA – 500/1 at Paddy Power
Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
Arguably the weakest of the African nations in the World Cup, but they did beat African Cup of Nations champions Egypt in a play-off to reach the finals. It has been a while since they have been on the world stage, and have landed a relatively nice draw in England’s World Cup Group. They should be able to make some kind of challenge against the USA and Slovenia. They have won the African Cup of Nations once, and their last World Cup appearance was at Mexico ‘86. They qualified the hard way for the world cup, looking impressive at home, but not so good away. They will probably be outclassed by England, and Slovenia should have the technical ability to play through them. May prove to be more stubborn opponents than creating any great upsets, as in truth they probably aren’t as strong as the team they stepped over to reach the World Cup finals, Egypt.

CAMEROON – 110/1 at SkyBet
Group E: Holland, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
We all know about Cameroon and the colour and flair they have brought to World Cup tournaments in the past. Who can forget England’s classic match against them in the quarter final of 1990, with the likes of Roger Milla and Omam Biyik in the side. They were all about attacking then, playing with a passionate and carefree flow, and much of that ethos still remains today. They are the highest ranked team from the African continent according to FIFA, and have the ability to create danger for a lot of teams again. They haven’t managed to break out of the group stages though in their previous three attempts at the World Cup, but like Ivory Coast, a win at the African Cup of Nations will instil a lot of belief. This is the advantage of playing competitive football ahead of a World Cup. They were the beaten finalists in the previous African Cup of Nations, losing to Egypt, and they qualified for South Africa easily enough. They have a good mix of experience and youth, and with Samuel Eto’o up front, there is always a chance for some goals (he hit 9 in 11 qualifying matches).

NIGERIA – 100/1 at Boylesports
Group B: Argetina, Korea Republic, Nigeria, Greece
Seem to be flying under the radar a bit, especially when compared to the hype surrounding Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana. There is a good reason for this, the Nigerians are not as good as they used to be. The Super Eagles were the top African side for some time, but their most recent World Cup performances have left little to bring about too much hope of a revival anytime soon. They struggled with qualification for South Africa 2010, quite surprisingly. They had to rely on other results going their way, and is a mark of just how much they have fallen behind on the African Continent. They are being tipped to make a mark in the African Cup of Nations, but when it comes to the World Cup, it is a different matter completely in terms of class. Chelsea’s Jon Obi Mikel will be the centre point in the midfield, and one thing about them, is that they can score goals. In fact, they have quite an attack minded team. That will probably mean plenty of gaps at the back for their opponents to expose though.

SOUTH AFRICA – 150/1 at Coral
The host nation, sadly are not in any great form ahead of the World Cup. The World Cup itself, generally needs the host nation to stay in, as it just adds to the whole vibe of the proceedings. That is often the pitfall of hosting the tournament, as you don’t have to qualify, there is lack of competitive football building up to the big event. While this World Cup will historically be the first on African soil, it is hard to see South Africa making any kind of impact. They have looked a long way short in the few friendly games they played last year, they have changed coach, but they still do not look much of a threat. Maybe when the home crowd are behind them, some of their desire and motivation may translate into some extra effort and skill. After being in the international football wilderness for a long time, when they came back they won the African Cup of Nations at their first try, brining a great deal of hope to the Rainbow Nation. But things never developed quite as well, and they never really built on that success. They did battle well in the FIFA Confederations cup last year, held in South Africa and that will give the home fans some hope, although they know that they will need to develop a cutting edge up front. Everton’s Steven Pienaar is the fulcrum of the side, but they will have a tough time getting out of their group.

While it may be a stretch that one of the African sides are going to win the tournament, you can comfort yourself with a good bet on the Top African Side at World Cup 21010:
Ivory Coast – Evens at Totesport
Ghana – 9/2 at SkyBet
Nigeria – 11/2 at Victor Chandler
South Africa – 16/1 at Totesport
Algeria – 40/1 at SkyBet

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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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