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AFCON 2019: Rough Guide – Group B

AFCON 2019 Group B

Nigeria

Nigeria - AFCON 2019 Group B

On one hand, it’s hard to ignore the progress and consistency Nigeria have managed under Gernot Rohr. Qualifying for World Cup and Nations Cup tournaments with some room to spare, all the more impressive considering the Super Eagles missed out on three of the past four continental tournaments.

On the other, there’s the sense that Nigerians patience with the German is wearing thin, particular with his rigidity towards player selection. A strong showing in Egypt – which likely means at least a semi-final place – is the minimum, before the murmurs of discontent become very coherent words.

Last seen: Nigeria haven’t been in the past two Nations Cup tournaments, since lifting the trophy in South Africa in 2013.

Record: That triumph in South Africa is one of three for the Super Eagles.

The Gaffer: Former Bordeaux manager Rohr is starting to be subject of murmurs of criticism from some, and needs a good tournament to keep dissenters at bay.

Guinea

Paul Put

Not since 2008 have Guinea been in back-to-back AFCON tournaments, and this year’s appearance doesn’t signify a change in that trend, coming after missing out in 2017. However, the Syli Nationale have gone past the group stage in four of their past five tournaments, at least showing consistency in the competition proper. This is far from the Guinea of old, which seemed elite and formidable, but they have, in Paul Put, a manager who’s very much experienced in going far in the Nations Cups, and quality players in Naby Keita and Francois Kamano. A very open group means getting past the first round again is very much the minimum.

Last seen: Guinea were knocked out of the quarter-finals in 2015.

Record: The Syli Nationale were runners-up in 1978.

The Gaffer: 63 year-old Paul Put took Burkina Faso to the final of the Nations Cup in 2013, where they lost to fellow Group B side Nigeria.

Madagascar

Madagascar - AFCON 2019 Group B

Madagascar found some solid footing in their semi-final appearance in last year’s COSAFA Cup, and they took that momentum into the AFCON qualifying opener with Senegal, a 2-2 draw, so much so that when they met in the reverse fixture, Barea had already booked their first ever Nations Cup ticket. Now for the tournament, where they seem very much like minnows, but they’ll be hoping the underdog tag is their secret weapon.

Last Seen: This is their AFCON debut.

Record: N/A

The Gaffer: Nicolas Dupois handles his task as coach of Madagascar alongside being the technical director of French team FC Fleury.

Read Also: AFCON 2019 Preview – Group A

Burundi

Burundi

Burundi’s history with African football is quite non-existent that they’ve actually failed to enter most AFCON qualifiers. But Les Hirondelles are set for their debut in the continent’s big time, after edging Gabon in qualifying. Being the continent’s lowest-ranked side at the tournament (as at April, at least), Burundi are very much unfancied in Egypt. But in a group where there’s a fellow newcomer, perhaps they can sneak a last 16 place.

Last Seen: This is their AFCON debut.

Record: N/A

The Gaffer: Olivier Niyungeko was appointed in 2016, replacing Ahcene Ait-Abdelmalek. The 49 year-old led Flambeau de l’Est to the Burundi Premier League title in 2013.

Fixtures

June 22 – Nigeria v Burundi (Alexandria)

June 22 – Guinea v Madagascar (Alexandria)

June 26 – Nigeria v Guinea (Alexandria)

June 27 – Madagascar v Burundi (Alexandria)

June 30 – Madagascar v Nigeria (Alexandria)

June 30 – Burundi v Guinea (Cairo)

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