AFCON – Quarterfinals general preview
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will have its quarterfinal stage on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July, as the top eight teams on the continent battle for a spot in the penultimate phase of the competition.
The last-eight phase opens at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo on Wednesday evening, with Senegal taking on Benin. While the Teranga Lions’ presence in the quarters is no surprise (they are the top-ranked team on the continent, after all), the Squirrels have been one of the surprise packages.
Not only did they secure a first-ever progression to the knockout phase (from arguably the toughest group, in which they finished behind Ghana and Cameroon), but they then took down one of the most impressive teams on display, Herve Renard’s Morocco, in the last 16.
Quite whether Michel Dussuyer’s team can repeat the feat against the West African heavyweights remains to be seen, as Aliou Cisse’s Senegal certainly won’t be underestimating them.
Later the same day, at the Cairo International Stadium, the focus will turn to Nigeria v South Africa. Both teams were outstanding in their previous matches, with the Super Eagles taking down regional rivals Cameroon 3-2 in the game of the tournament so far, while Bafana Bafana shocked hosts Egypt 1-0 to reach the last eight for just the second time in the past decade.
Nigeria have traditionally bossed SA in the teams’ rivalry, though Stuart Baxter’s team did claim a surprise win away to the Super Eagles during qualification for this very AFCON. What price another upset in favour of Bafana?
The quarterfinals continue on Thursday, with the first game on offer being the pick of the quarterfinals: heavyweights Algeria and Ivory Coast will battle at the Suez Stadium. The North Africans have looked slick, confident and powerful through this AFCON, but the Elephants represent a significant threat, especially with Wilfried Zaha beginning to find his feet.
The last eight wraps up in Cairo on Thursday night with Madagascar hoping to continue their incredible run in the tournament. Barea have been perhaps the most talked-about team at the Nations Cup and simply getting this far is an incredible achievement. Tunisia (who edged Ghana on penalties in the last 16) will be tough to beat, but the Islanders are flying high and have nothing to lose.
For the latest news, fixtures and results from the 2019 AFCON, head to SuperSport’s tournament page.
For more information on the unmatched football on DStv and the upcoming
fixtures, visit www.supersport.com.
AFCON quarterfinal fixtures
All times CAT
Wednesday 10 July
18:00: Senegal v Benin – LIVE on SS4
21:00: Nigeria v South Africa – LIVE on SS4/SS10
Thursday 11 July
18:00: Ivory Coast v Algeria – LIVE on SS4
21:00: Madagascar v Tunisia – LIVE on SS4