The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Cup tournament has reached the stage where one mistake can mean being dumped out – and the only time to make amends would be at least 24 months.
So, do not complain about dull matches because the teams are now ultra-careful not to make any damning mistakes. But here we want to make an informed decision on which teams we believe will qualify for the semis.
In the semis, we have six teams – Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Congo DR, Ghana and Cameroon who have won the Cup at least once while the two West African countries of Senegal and Burkina Faso are chasing first titles.
Burkina Faso : Tunisia (17:00)
The Burkina Faso team got to the final in 2013 and have largely kept the same team with Charles Kabore leading the team while Tunisia have a new crop of players with Niam Slti the pick of the pack in the first round.
Tunisia have won AFCON once which gives them a slight edge and their backline would be ably marshalled by Aymen Abdennour – who can be as physical as the Burkina Faso forwards want to be.
There are doubts over Jonathan Pitroipa, even though he has failed to sparkle while Prejuce Nakoulma will be all speed with the playmaking on the shoulders of Alaine Traore.
Henryk Kasperczak will be hoping that his experience in Africa will come to bear on this match even though he would also be hoping for a spark from lead striker, Ahmed Akaichi. The midfield is his strongest unit with Wahbi Khazri and Naim Sliti, already on the score sheet in Gabon.
Verdict – If any of these two scores early then the game could become a real thriller – if not there is every possibility of a 0-0 or 1-1 that would mean penalties.
Going through…Tunisia on penalties.
Senegal : Cameroon (20:00)
There cannot be a better time for Senegal to win a first AFCON title than now because their squad is loaded with good players from back to front. The only snag could be their goalkeeper, Abdoulaye Diallo.
The attack of Sadio Mane and Keita Balde should have too much energy and guile for Adolphe Teikeu, Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and Nicolas N’Koulou – the expected back three for the Indomitable Lions.
Cameroon manager, Hugo Broos, has not found a way to make the captain, Brice Moukandjo and Vincent Aboubakar operate in tandem at this tournament which has meant Aboubakar has been unable to utilise his power and pace to get behind defences.
Broos must however find a way to nullify the speed of the Senegalese attack if his team will make any headway.
There is every possibility that this would be a very physical affair and the chances of penalties to be given away are very high.
To go through…Senegal 3-1.