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Ivory Coast vs Egypt: Clash of equal heavyweights

AFCON 2021

Ivory Coast vs Egypt: Clash of equal heavyweights

Isifu Wirfengla

Douala – Diamelle Denson

Two of the continent’s football powerhouses, Ivory Coast and Egypt, have their eyes set on one of two remaining quarterfinal tickets at the ongoing African Cup, Cameroon 2021.

It will be pulsating when the Elephants and the Pharaohs lock horns today in Japoma stadium, in economic city Douala, at 5 pm local time.

On paper, the Ivorians are favourites having lost just once in their last 15 games across all competitions. But also, Pharaohs won 4-1 the last time these two met.

Egypt started sloppily and have not won by a large margin to match expectations and their towering stature. The 33rd Afcon has put bookmakers on the wrong side of prediction many times. Evidently, an impressive group stage performance, means nothing. If it were something to go by, Nigeria would not have boarded an early plane.  

Seven-time record winners Egypt started their campaign poorly in group D. During the group opener in Garoua, they were defeated one-nil by Nigeria. In their second game, they beat Guinea Bissau by one goal to zero and harvested the same score over Sudan in their last group game.

Carlos Queiroz’s side finished behind ousted Nigeria with 6 points.

The Elephants of Ivory Coast, Afcon winners in 1992 and 2015, qualified for the Round of 16 as winners of group E. They began their campaign with a nerve-racking one nil win over Equatorial Guinea, struggled to draw 2-2 with Sierra Leone. They went on to thumb Algeria 3-1 to cement their place in the Last 16.

With some of the continent’s mercurial stars like Mohamed Salah, Elneny, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Ahmed Hegazy, Sébastien Haller, Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pépé expected on the pitch, Africa is poised for a mouth-watery encounter.

Like everyone, we are cautious not to say who will win, to set up a quarterfinal fixture with Morocco.

Mali faces Equatorial Guinea in Limbe afterwards. Another game difficult to predict. Mali finished top of group F with seven points, unbeaten. On their part, the Nzalang National did the unthinkable when they beat title defenders Algeria.

The winner of this game will square up with Senegal in the quarters.

Isifu Wirfengla
Isifu Wirfengla

Isifu Michael WIRFENGLA is holder of a Bsc. in Journalism and taking postgraduate studies in Information and Communication Sciences from the University of Yaounde 2. He has five years of broadcast experience. Apart from freelance/sports reporting, he is a trained, practising football referee in Cameroon.


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