To me, personally, Group F of the Africa Cup of Nations is one of the most exciting ones for two reasons.
The first one would be to see if Ghana is really as strong as most people suggest. I have my doubts, so I will be watching closely.
The other country that I find interesting is Cameroon. A lot of people underestimate the Indomitable Lions, but they are the reigning AFCON champions, after all.
The two sides will be joined by Benin and Guinea-Bissau, which have their own ambitions. I will take a look at the betting odds for each nation to win Group F and share my predictions.
As always, I will conclude this preview with a final betting pick.
Africa Cup of Nations Group F Betting Odds
Betway offers the following odds for the group winner market.
As you can see, Betway obviously sees Ghana as the big favorite here. It’s the same at other leading AFCON betting sites.
While I can agree that the team is much better than Benin and Guinea-Bissau, I’m not so sure about Cameroon.
On paper, the squad of Ghana is superior, but there are certain reasons to believe that might not be the case on the pitch. I will explore them later in this post, but let’s say my gut feeling is that backing Cameroon might be the best approach here.
Also, I don’t think that Benin and especially Guinea-Bissau are as doomed as the prices suggest. Still, the probability of them winning the group is too slim. Even if there is some value in the odds, it’s too much of a long shot for my taste.
- FIFA Rankings: 49
- Coach: Kwesi Appiah
- Key players: Kassim Nuhu, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Asamoah Gyan
A lot of bookmakers and specialists see Ghana as one of the best teams in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. According to the odds, the country is the second favorite for the title after Egypt. It’s no surprise that Ghana is also expected to win this Group F.
You could see why if you decide to check Ghana’s squad. It features plenty of players with loads of experience in the top European leagues. The likes of Asamoah Gyan, the Ayew brothers, Thomas, and many others have been performing on the highest level for years now.
Most of them are in their prime, so this is the best moment for Ghana to achieve something significant. A couple more years, and this generation will be wasted.
The strongest side of the current squad is that it has no weak links. The defense is strong, the midfield is full of intelligent players that can control the tempo, and there are a couple of lethal forwards.
Ghana can successfully play a more conservative system or dominate the opposition. Such flexibility will be crucial on the road to success in Egypt.
If it was only about the quality of the squad and experience, there is no question that Ghana is among the strongest countries in this year’s AFCON.
A couple of weeks ago, I would’ve probably backed Ghana to win Group F without hesitation. Right now, I wouldn’t touch them at a price of -150.
The reason is simple — I have serious doubts about the atmosphere of the team. There was a row surrounding the captain’s armband, and Asamoah Gyan left the squad. The aging star returned after a phone call from the president of the country, but I fear that the damage might have been done.
We’ve often seen how such scandals affect the performance in big tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations. The tensions around the players and the coach usually prevent the side from playing well on the pitch.
I still expect to see Ghana in the knockouts, and the country may very well win the group. And yet, I have no intention of betting on that, especially since the odds are so short.
- FIFA Rankings: 54
- Coach: Clarence Seedorf
- Key players: Andre Onana, Andre Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Pierre Malong
Cameroon is the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champion and was supposed to host the 2019 edition of the tournament. The country lost that right and had to go through the qualifiers, like everyone else.
That wasn’t an issue, as Cameroon managed to progress to the finals comfortably and will defend its title. What made a negative impression in the process was the rather weak attack of the team. The champions scored only six goals in the same number of games, which is a worry.
In theory, Cameroon has enough creative midfielders and forwards from top European leagues, but something is not right. The manager, Clarence Seedorf, will have to find a way for his team to create more chances.
On the bright side, the defense of Cameroon is strong. They have one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament in Andre Onana and a midfield that protects the backline well. That’s a great foundation for a knockout competition such as the Africa Cup of Nations.
Most people don’t expect Cameroon to retain the title, but I’m not so sure about that. The team will be tough to beat, at the very least, and has enough talented players to go deep.
The group stage shouldn’t be an issue for Cameroon, as the teams of Benin and Guinea-Bissau are not on the same level. Ghana will be the one to beat here, and I won’t be surprised if the reigning champions actually manage to win Group F.
The lack of pressure and the rather low expectations should help Cameroon relax. At the same time, the team has enough experience and confidence.
The price of +162 for Cameroon to earn the top spot is tempting and looks like a better choice than Ghana right now.
- FIFA Rankings: 91
- Coach: Michel Dussuyer
- Key players: Steve Mounie, Khaled Adenon, Stephane Sessegnon
The soccer history of Benin shows that the country never managed to qualify for a major tournament up until the start of this century. The team is yet to register a win in the Africa Cup of Nations, so playing in the Finals is already a success.
What baffles me is how Benin managed to get out of a group with Algeria, Gambia, and Togo. All of these sides are at least decent, so the country obviously has a lot of character.
As for the squad, a couple of decent players from top European leagues make up the core of Benin. Unfortunately, the captain and arguably best player Stephane Sessegnon is suspended for the opener against Ghana.
In all fairness, that is not the end of the world. Benin was most likely going to lose that game anyway. The key clash for the nation will be against Guinea-Bissau. That’s the weakest opponent in the group, and a win here opens the door to potentially reaching the knockouts.
Considering Benin’s record on the road to 2019 AFCON, I wouldn’t rule that out. The country doesn’t score many goals, but it doesn’t let in many, either. Every match in the qualifiers has been a slugfest. If Benin replicates that performance in Egypt, it might get out of this Group F.
- FIFA Rankings: 118
- Coach: Baciro Cande
- Key players: Zezinho, Marcelo Djalo, Pele, Frederic Mendy
Another country that lacks success in major tournaments and will be hoping to change that is Guinea-Bissau. The team was involved in one of the most dramatic AFCON qualification groups you will ever see.
Nothing was clear by the last game, and Guinea-Bissau could’ve finished first or last in the group. With minutes left, the country conceded and looked out, but Frederic Mendy scored right at the death. As a result, Guinea-Bissau will play in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
As the odds suggest, this is the outsider in Group F, and no one expects wonders. And yet, the squad is full of players that are part of Portuguese clubs. Most of them are unknown, but they have been part of one of the best places for youth development in the world.
The likes of Mendy, Zezinho, Pele, and Joginho are decent players that can create a lot of chances up front. The defense is rather suspect, so that’s the weak spot of this team. I can certainly see Guinea-Bissau scoring, but there will be a lot of goals on the other end, too.
The country can’t realistically fight for the top two spots in the group, but a point or even three is not out of the question against Benin.
Africa Cup of Nations Group F Betting Pick and Predictions
It’s time for my final predictions. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it seems impossible for either Benin or Guinea-Bissau to win this group. Those two should be fighting for third, and Benin seems more likely to get it.
Most people expect Ghana to comfortably edge Cameroon for the top spot, but I’m not so sure. The team is better on paper, but the scandal shortly before the tournament could play a role.
Cameroon certainly has the players to take advantage of any slip-ups. The reigning champions will be eager to defend the AFCON title, and winning the group will bring a weaker team in the knockouts. The odds of +162 for Cameroon are too high, so that’s my final betting pick.
PICKCameroon to Win Group F+162
Group F is one that shouldn’t be too surprising in terms of the top two spots. Cameroon and Ghana look much stronger than the other two teams, and I agree with the bookies on that.
What’s your opinion? Do you think I might be missing something? If that’s the case, let me know in the comments below.
If you intend to bet on the tournament, I certainly can recommend the Africa Cup of Nations betting guide you will find here at GamblingSites.com. It features regular updates, news, and betting picks prepared by our soccer experts.