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Sports News of Monday, 3 June 2019

Source: foxsportsafrica

2019 WAFU CUP: 5 teams to watch out for

Home advantage paid dividends two years ago as Ghana came up trumps at the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations, mauling West African rivals Nigeria 4-1 in the final.

Senegal will host the 2019 edition and this is enough to mark the Teranga Lions among the favourites to win this year’s crown.

That said, Fox Sports Africa takes a look at five teams to watch at 2019 WAFU ahead of Wednesday’s draw.

Senegal

Sitting at 23rd in the latest FIFA World Rankings, Senegal are the highest ranked side on the African continent. This, though, can mainly be attributed to their European based stars which included Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

Whether the Teranga Lions will be able to call on those who ply their trade away from Senegal remains to be seen, and while their domestic league isn’t the strongest with teams from the country perennial underachieves in continental cup competitions, Senegal will remain a threat as hosts of the tournament.

Ghana

The defending champions will be odds on favourites to lift the title once more later this year. Ranked 49th in the world and sixth on the continent, Ghana have slowly but surely returned to the side that wowed the world between 2010-2014.

With a strong core to call on, the Black Stars will fancy their chances in Senegal and be desperate not to underachieve as has often been the case for the West African nation in continental tournaments over the last decade.

Morocco

While most countries from West Africa have their best players plying their trade in Europe, North African nations like Morocco usually have a plethora of stars still playing in the country’s domestic leagues.

While this has changed somewhat over recent years for Morocco, the country still boasts some of the best club side’s on the continent with Wydad Casablanca one win away from being crowned Caf Champions League champions.

Ranked fourth in Africa, the Atlas Lions are a growing threat on the continent.

Nigeria

Runners-up at the most recent WAFU Nations Cup, Nigeria will always fall into pundits favourites column when it comes to continental competitions – much like Egypt.

The African powerhouse boasts a plethora of footballers to choose from, and while many will argue that other West African nations have surpassed Nigeria in recent years, the Super Eagles will still back their chances of winning every tournament – and for good reason.

Ranked third in Africa, Nigeria have a growing crop of youngsters starting to light up parts of Europe.

Ivory Coast

Much like Senegal, the Ivory Coast have most of their stars playing in Europe’s top divisions as their domestic clubs continue to underperform on the continent.

The Elephants have undergone a transition phase over the last few years, slipping down to 11th on the continent in the latest rankings.

That, though, is likely to change in the coming years with the country now boasting some of the best talent on the African continent. How they do at WAFU, though, will depend on who is available at their disposal.