Elation will erupt in two African countries on Sunday night 14 July. And utter disappointment will wash over football fans in two other counties immediately after the semi-finals of Africa’s showpiece tournament. Supporters of all the other teams that have been competing in Egypt since 21 June will then join them to watch live TV coverage of the third-place playoff on 17 July. The final is scheduled to start at 20:50 at the Cairo International Stadium on the 19th.
Everything you need to know about Afcon
This winter is heating up as Africa’s top football talent prepare to battle it out to be crowned the best on the continent.
The giants awaken
The big guns are in action in the first few days with hosts Egypt in action against Zimbabwe on Friday, while Nigeria, Morocco and Ivory Coast all play on the weekend. Bookmakers make the Pharaohs the favourites to win the title, followed by Senegal and Ghana.
What’s up for grabs
The tournament winners will walk away with a cool US$4.5 million and the runners-up will bag $2.5 million. A spot in the semi-finals is worth $2 million and any team reaching the last eight will claim $800 000. That’s a lot of rands.
The 74 000-capacity Cairo International Stadium will host the opening match and the July 19 final. Matches will be played at two other stadiums in the capital; while Suez, Alexandria and Ismailia are the other host cities.
Defending champions Cameroon ended their long-time relationship with Puma in favour of Le Coq Sportif, but Puma still sponsors powerhouse nations Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal. South Africa and Nigeria will don Nike kit, while Algeria will wear adidas.
Stars ready for action
Liverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are the star attractions for Egypt and Senegal respectively, while Manchester City’s Algerian winger and Morocco’s Hakim Zayech, who had a great season with Ajax Amsterdam, are also eager to make an impact at AFCON.
A calendar change
The 32nd edition of Afcon will be held in June/July for the first time, it having moved from its traditional January slot. The tournament has also expanded to 24 teams from 16.
Umbro has replaced Mitre as the official match ball supplier and has produced a new ball specifically for Afcon 2019. The Neo Pro’s features the colours of the Egyptian flag and has been designed to maintain a true flight, which should contribute to some fantastic goals.
Radar on newcomers
Afcon is traditionally a platform for players to announce themselves on the world stage. Nigeria’s 20-year-old winger Samuel Chukwueze, Tanzania’s striker Mbwana Samatta and Ivorian attacker Nicolas Pepe have all been tipped as players to watch.
See South Africa play
South Africa Fixtures: Group Stage
|South Africa||Ivory Coast||24 June||16.30|
|South Africa||Namibia||28 June||22.00|
|South Africa||Morocco||1 July||18.00|
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