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African Cup of Nations Preview – Group D

January 10, 2010

To conclude our African Nations preview, we take a look at Group D, which contains one of the favourites. The other nations will be looking to upset the applecart though, and this could be a group in which one of the unfancied sides makes a name for themselves.

GROUP D

CAMEROON // GABON // TUNISIA // ZAMBIA


Will Cameroon captain Eto'o win the golden boot for the third consecutive tournament?

CAMEROON

The Indomitable Lions are easily the strongest side in Group D, after what was a favourable draw for the four-time winners. Former Rangers boss Paul Le Guen revived the side after a slow start to qualification and hopes are once again high for Cameroon, who won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2002. Undoubtedly their star player is Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o; no-one has scored more goals in the African Cup of Nations (16). They have the best goalkeeper in Africa in Carlos Kameni and a vastly experienced defender in Rigobert Song, while nephew Alexandre Song (Arsenal) will provide a solid base for the midfield, allowing playmaker Echille Emana to help the forwards. Newcastle’s Geremi and Burnley’s Andre Bikey have also made the squad. On their day they play very attractive football, but their defence will be tested against sides with pace up-front. If Eto’o is on form then Cameroon can overcome any opponent, but like last time they may fall short at the final hurdle.

Videprinter prediction – Should cruise through. On course to meet Ivory Coast in the final if both sides win their groups. Runners-up.

Hull forward Cousin will lead the line for Gabon

GABON

They were beaten twice by Cameroon in qualifying and are unlikely to overcome them in their opening game, but will be desperate to get one over the side that stopped them reaching the World Cup in the final qualifying match. Hull striker Daniel Cousin is the only recognisable player in the Black Panthers squad, and even he had to be convinced to accept his call-up. Whether or not the team has enough quality to provide Cousin with any service is another matter. They should be stronger than Zambia and will hope to upset Tunisia, if not Cameroon.

Videprinter prediction – Defeats in the two games against Cameroon and Tunisia would see them packing their bags before they play fellow minnows Zambia, so need to pull off an early upset. Group Stage exit, but can at least look forward to co-hosting the next tournament.

TUNISIA

Chaouki Ben Saada is Tunisia's main creative outlet


After missing out on qualification for the World Cup, for the first time since 1994, Tunisia has a point to prove. They sacked manager Humberto Coelho after this failure and Faouzi Benzarti replaced him for his second stint in charge. The current side is nowhere near as strong as that which triumphed in 2004 and struggles to find goals. The packed five-man midfield will prove hard to break down and finds its creativity through the talents of Chaouki Ben Saada and Oussama Darragi. Issam Jemaa will play as the lone striker, but the Lens striker was hardly prolific in qualifying, scoring four.

Videprinter prediction – Must take advantage of opening games against Zambia and Gabon before a showdown with Cameroon. Should be good enough to finish group as runners-up but might run out of steam against Egypt or Nigeria (who beat them to the World Cup). Quarter-finals.

Captain Christopher Katongo is Zambia's star player

ZAMBIA

The Chipolopolo (‘Copper Bullets’) are managed by Frenchman Herve Renard and are looking to make it past the group stage for the first time since 1996. Two years ago they were thrashed 5-1 by Cameroon in a group match and this time they will look to Joseph Musonda to keep things organised at the back. Forward Christopher Katongo, who plays for Arminia Bielefeld in Germany, and his brother Felix in midfield will both provide pace and some considerable ability to a side lacking in almost every department.

Videprinter prediction – Just like Gabon they need an early upset, and their opening game with Tunisia provides the best opportunity for that. Group stage exit.

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