AFCON: Cape Verde battle Zambia, DR Congo tussle with Tunisia
A fascinating final round of Group B games await, as little separates this quartet of African nations. Tunisia may be in pole position, but must be careful as upcoming opposition DR Congo and second placed Cape Verde are close behind.
Cape Verde v Zambia
Island Nation Cape Verde are 6/4 with Coral to sink 2012 AFCON champions Zambia, but the Blue Sharks must step up their attacking threat after recording two draws in their opening fixtures.
Cape Verde are level on points with DR Congo, and must take this opportunity to seal qualification as the Leopards face pool favourites, and current table toppers, Tunisia.
Sporting Lisbon forward Heldon ‘Nhuck’ Ramos (7/1 to score first) struck the Blue Sharks’ only goal of the tournament so far, but cannot do it all alone, so more adventure up top is required.
Favoured frontman Kuca Miranda (7/4 in the anytime market) and skipper Elvis Babanco, who was named Man of the Match last time out, must take their share of the burden and push their team forward.
Zambia, meanwhile, are yet to take three points from any of their outings at AFCON thus far, so are perhaps best value at at 21/10 to end the game on even terms.
Chipolopolo, who are also 6/4 to win, have disappointed in this edition of the tournament, but could still feasibly qualify if they defeat Cape Verde and DR Congo fail to beat Tunisia.
Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka (6/1 to draw first blood) netted Zambia’s consolation goal last time out and is their best chance of triumph, while captain Rainford Calaba, who can cause havoc with his crossing technique, could also prove decisive.
DR Congo v Tunisia
The Leopards, 9/5 to win, have not yet lived up to their reputation for attacking football, or their fearsome nickname, in what has proven to be a trickier than expected Group B .
After scoring plenty of goals during qualifying, DR Congo have managed to net just once in this competition so far.
Unsurprisingly it was Crystal Palace’s creative force Yannick Bolasie (10/3 to strike anytime) who made the difference against Zambia by grabbing a vital equaliser, and it may be up to the exciting Eagles attacker to ensure his nation do not board an early plane home.
The Leopards are still licking their wounds after their stalemate against Cape Verde, as the nation holds it’s breath over the fitness of skipper and driving force Youssouf Mulumbu.
The West Bromwich Albion star was stretchered off last time out and his potential absence could tip the balance in Tunisia’s favour.
Former Belgium boss and current Eagles of Carthage coach Georges Leekens, meanwhile, can call upon Zurich wing wizard and national team captain Yassine Chikhaoui (2/1 to score anytime), who netted the winner against Zambia.
The tricky 28-year-old’s 89th minute effort ensured Tunisia (13/10 favourites for the win) are the only team so far to have won a Group B fixture, which has made them odds-on favourites at 4/11 to top the pool.
Chikhaoui’s guile and craft should certainly stretch the Leopards’ defence, while Bordeaux playmaker Wahbi Khazari is also one to watch out for.