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Africa Cup of Nations

AFCON 2019: Diouf anticipates tough tournament

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El Hadji Diouf (R), Gov. Akinwumi Ambode [in Super Eagles Jersey] pose with other African football legends [Photo: AkinwunmiAmbode]

Former Senegal international El Hadji Diouf believes the forthcoming Total Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt will be tougher than the previous editions.

The two-time African Footballer of The Year attributes this to the increment of teams from 16 to 24 which will make it a bit tougher compared to the previous tournaments.

To speak this, the 38-year-old Senegalese former player was featuring for African All Stars versus Naija Legends in the testimonial match for outgoing Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

“It is going to be more difficult now with 24 teams, countries have more teams to play in the competition now unlike in previous tournament,” Diouf was quoted by www.thisdaylive.com.

The 2002 World Cup hero, tips Egypt to win the most prestigious football tournament in Africa due to their advantage of being the hosts of the tournament.

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Diouf believes Egypt will be the team to beat at the 2019 African showpiece | Courtesy Photo

“I agree with those tipping Egypt to likely win the tournament as hosts but football is not mathematics, other factors play roles in final outcome of matches.”

“Egyptian players are going to be under pressure to win and of course, this has its side effect on the psychology of the players,” he noted.

The former Liverpool and Blackburn player however believes that Senegal, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are also favorites of the 32nd edition of the African football showpiece.

“Senegal, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are other countries with likely chances of also winning AFCON 2019 because of the quality players in their ranks. We are having good time now in Senegal with big players in the current (Teranga) Lions,” Diouf noted.

Diouf who retired from football in 2015, works as a Government Goodwill Ambassador and Adviser on Sport to President Macky Sall, he also played for, Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland in the English Premier League.

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