AFCON 2015 Qualifying Predictions – Rounds 3 and 4

Before we get into the details of what’s happened and what’s going on, make sure to get our AFCON Competition Tracker. You can keep track of the matches yourself, the standings will update, and the sheet will feed off of our most current rankings to project the rest of the group stage and qualifying nations. There’s nothing else like it.

 

Group A

Right off the bat, our prediction was wrong. We had Congo dead last in the group, and right off the bat they’ve already blown our projection out of the water. We didn’t know what to expect, but Congo certainly brought their (Group) A game. They thoroughly whooped Nigeria in their own back yard. Sudan is proving to be the odd man out in this group, and they could be eliminated from competition by next week. We still project Congo to finish 3rd in this group given the remaining fixtures, but we now like them to qualify as the best 3rd place team. If they’re able to get another win at any point, they should be set to qualify directly. Nigeria needs to get it together quickly if they even want a shot to defend their continental title.

We think Nigeria will take all 6 against Sudan. Congo needs to get something out of these matches with South Africa. Anything more than 1 point is going to be huge.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 South Africa 11.11 11.21
2 Nigeria 15.29 10.84
3 Congo 2.79 10.02
4 Sudan 4.84 1.42

Group B

As we anticipated, this is Algeria’s group to lose. It looked like they weren’t going to be able to pull it out against 10 man Mali. The only team that really disappointed was Ethiopia. They fell in our projections from 2nd to 4th after getting 0 points from 2 matches. Malawi’s home win was huge for them. We still think it’s going to be difficult for whichever team finishes in 3rd to even be in the conversation for Morocco. But it’s certainly wide open for 2nd right now.

Algeria can qualify directly for Morocco with 2 wins next week if Mali and Ethiopia don’t each take 3 points from their home-and-away ties. Regardless, Algeria is still in no danger of missing out. We do like Algeria to take 6 points and we like Mali to get a win and a draw against Ethiopia.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Algeria 15.44 16.92
2 Mali 6.30 7.74
3 Malawi 3.62 5.20
4 Ethiopia 8.23 4.60

Group C

Of course after we talked a little smack on Gabon, they came through to defeat Angola and get a huge road point at Lesotho. As a result, they currently find themselves in 2nd place, and we now think they’ll have enough to get to Morocco. We liked Burkina Faso to finish top of the group, but they are now far and away the favorites. We project them above 15 points. Similar to Algeria, Burkina can qualify directly with 2 wins and a couple results going their way. And similar to Algeria, if it doesn’t happen next week, it shouldn’t be difficult. Poor Angola has 0 points currently, but they’re certainly still not out of it.

We’re projecting two Burkina wins and two Angola wins, which is clearly pretty bold. If that happens, Burkina will indeed qualify.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Burkina Faso 12.40 15.01
2 Gabon 3.30 8.27
3 Angola 11.40 6.51
4 Lesotho 6.20 3.39

Group D

Our prediction for this group was pretty much on point. Since Cameroon bent the Ivory Coast over, they’ve flip-flopped in our projections. We still like both to finish in the Top 2. Sierra Leone really got shafted by having to play 6 road games, but in all likelihood it wouldn’t have mattered. All 4 results thus far matched what we expected. Congo DR is going to have to get some unexpected results to be in the conversation for 3rd place qualifier. But their Brazzaville neighbors will likely have too large a lead.

We think the Ivory Coast and Cameroon each take 6 points in their next 2 matches and really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Cameroon 11.16 15.37
2 Ivory Coast 12.38 11.51
3 Congo DR 5.73 6.30
4 Sierra Leone 3.92 1.44

Group E

As good as we projected this group to be, it might even be better. We still like Ghana to finish top of the group, but nobody is going to go down without a flight. Uganda took out WGF Rankings darlings Guinea at home and held Ghana on the road. Togo started off on the wrong foot, but there’s still plenty of time. We still favor Guinea 2nd with Uganda now 3rd, but it’s close. Uganda can really make a statement by taking out Togo. If Uganda succeeds, this group will have a shot to produce the best 3rd place team.

We like Ghana and Togo to win their home matches, and we think they’ll both pull out draws on the road. If that holds true, this is going to be one wild ride.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Ghana 12.76 12.33
2 Guinea 10.90 8.46
3 Uganda 2.12 7.86
4 Togo 7.74 4.21

Group F

As we indicated in our initial preview, this is the weakest group in qualification. Nothing has happened to dispel that notion, but it appears that Cape Verde is head and shoulders above the rest of this group. Taking 6 points was impressive, but defeating Zambia will go a long way. Cape Verde should have no problem qualifying, and they could be another team that does so next week. But just because it’s viewed as a “weak” group does not mean that it will not be exciting. Zambia, Mozambique and Niger are all in the thick of it. It’s truly wide open for 2nd place in this group. We still think that it’ll be Zambia in 2nd.

We like Cape Verde to grab 6 points against Mozambique. We think Zambia only takes 4 against Niger. If that happens, not only will Cape Verde officially clinch, they’ll clinch 1st place.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Cape Verde Islands 10.52 14.41
2 Zambia 10.03 6.73
3 Mozambique 7.98 5.70
4 Niger 4.19 5.00

Group G

We had Egypt as the favorite in this group. They have 0 points through 2 matches. What’s more difficult is that Botswana also got blanked, so both teams are at a disadvantage. The only real surprise result was Tunisia’s victory at Egypt. As a result, we now have Egypt as the 3rd place finisher. And even more, we no longer believe that the Group G 3rd place team will be the best 3rd place team.

We think that Egypt comes back and takes 6 against Botswana. It won’t turn the tide, but it’s a step in the right direction. Frankly, Egypt has to get 6 points to stay in this thing. Senegal and Tunisia have both climbed our rankings. Those games will be some of the best in qualifying.

Finish Team Old Points New Points
1 Tunisia 8.74 12.62
2 Senegal 8.04 12.29
3 Egypt 12.22 7.31
4 Botswana 3.90 1.83

 

When we released our initial projections our 16 teams were:

Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Angola, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Cape Verde Islands, Zambia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Senegal.

There have been a few changes since then. We have Mali advancing out of Group B instead of Ethiopia. We have Gabon advancing out of Group C instead of Angola. And lastly, we have Congo advancing as the best 3rd place team, replacing Egypt in our projections.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed the preview. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global.

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