By Emmanuel Ebimoh
The Defending champions, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, will kick off their AFCON title defence today when they take on Djurtus’ of Guinea-Bissau in a group D clash. The two teams have met three times in previous competitions with Cameroon winning in all occasions. Although the Cameroonians lost their striker, Joël Tagueu who was ruled out of the tournament on Monday with a heart defect, they will be boasted by the presence of in-form Villareal striker, Karl Toko Ekambi, who returns into the squad to partner with newly appointed captain, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. But Porto forward, Vincent Aboubakar will not be in the team due to injury. The match kicks off at 6pm, GMT +1
The Indomitable Lions will also be in safe hands with their number one goalkeeper, Andre Onana who was part of the Ajax team that stunned Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League last season.
Guinea-Bissau, on the other hand, will be appearing in only their second African Nations Cup competition, and from all indications, have not looked convincing in their previous matches in preparation for the tournament. They suffered their eighth defeat in 13 matches when they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Angola in a final warm-up match. Hardly ideal preparation for Djurtus’ in their second-ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations. Although captained by Slovakia-based midfielder Zezinho, the Djurtus’ will have to put up a miraculous show to inspire any upset against the defending champions.
In the other match of today, Black Stars of Ghana will be hoping to start their ambition of winning a fifth African title with a win against The Squirrels of Benin at the Ismailia Stadium.
The Black Stars last lifted the African Cup of Nations trophy in 1982, but have reached two finals and four other semis in the past six editions. With an experience array of stars in the squad, they look motivated to end their trophy drought this campaign.
For The Squirrels of Benin, they will face a tough battle if they are to progress from the group. Since their last appearance in the competition in 2012, Benin will be hoping for a better outing in the tournament.
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