AFCON: Group B quartet kick off their Africa Cup campaigns

Group B of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea kicks off, with 2012 champions Zambia taking on DR Congo and Cape Verde battling Tunisia.

Coral writers preview the action.

Zambia v DR Congo
Neighbours Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo battle for the 25th time in their history, but have not faced each other in a competitive match since 1999.

AFCON champions in 2012 Zambia (3/1 Group B second-favourites and 33/1 tournament shouts) won that match 1-0, so are slight favourites for victory again at 17/10, and 6/1 chances to do so by that scoreline.

DR Congo, meanwhile, have called up a decent looking squad, with the likes of Cedric Makiadi (Werder Bremen), Youssouf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion), Dieumerci Mbokani (Dynamo Kyiv) and Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) all available to head coach Florent Ibenge.

The Leopards, therefore, are decent 7/4 shouts for victory and 7/2 outsiders to top their group. Mbokani is 5/2 to net anytime, while Bolasie is 7/2 in the same market.

For the Bullets, though, they can call on Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka, who is 12/5 to score anytime.

Cape Verde v Tunisia
Western African island nation Cape Verde may only have a population of just over 500k, but were the first team (along with Algeria) to qualify for these finals, and are decent 7/2 shouts to top Group B.

The Blue Sharks beat Tunisia 2-0 in their last meeting, but were stripped of the victory due to fielding an ineligible player, which ultimately led to them missing out on the 2014 World Cup.

So Cape Verde will be all the more determined to get revenge, so are tempting 11/4 shouts for victory and 16/1 to do so by that same scoreline.

The Eagles of Carthage (7/5 favourites to top the pool), though, will take heart from their 2-1 win over the volcanic islands nation earlier in that World Cup qualifying group, and are 21/20 favourites.

Cape Verde, who are playing in only their second AFCON finals (they reached the quarters last time in 2013), can look to Sporting Lisbon forward Heldon ‘Nhuck’ Ramos to get goals. Heldon was the Blue Sharks’ top scorer in qualifying and is a tempting 16/5 anytime chance.

Youssef Msakni, who plays club football in Qatar, is Tunisia’s top hope according to Coral, as he is priced at 12/5 to net anytime.