AFCON 2021: Group A in perspective

With few days to kick start the 33rd edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), host Cameroon will be looking to put on one of the best continental showpieces in recent years.

The hosts are in Group A together with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde in one of the toughest groups of the tournament.


Host Nation Cameroon, having won the AFCON five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2017) and appearing in the competition for the 20th time, are one of the favorites to win the tournament based on their past performances.

The team managed to reach the final of the AFCON three times in a row between 1980 and 1990 and won the title in 1984 and 1988.

The Indomitable Lions who are currently placed 50th on the FIFA rankings would be looking forward to a host and win, to make it the the sixth time after beating Egypt in 2017 to win the trophy for the fifth time.

Portuguese Antonio Conceição, who has been in charge of the team since 2019 is expected to come into this tournament with his usual formation, where his wing-backs are expected to defend and attack in equal measure.

Cameroonian legend and President of the Cameroon Football Association, Samuel Etoo, who won the just ended FA elections, would be looking forward to leading his country in winning the 33rd African Cup of Nations tournament.

Burkina Faso

Kamou Malo’s Burkina Faso would be making their 12th appearance at the continental showpiece and would be a tough nut to crack for other group teams.

The “Stallions” as they are nicknamed bring to the 2021 AFCON some top world footballing stars including Edmond Tapsoba, Bertrand Traore, Issa Kabore, and the likes.

Burkina Faso first qualified to the AFCON in the year 1978 but missed out on six subsequent editions before making it to the 1996 edition in South Africa.

Their best finish in the tournament was in 2013 after finishing as runners-up after being beaten by Nigeria in the finals.

The team is currently placed 60th on the FIFA rankings. The Stallions after missing the 2019 edition of the AFCON tournament would be looking forward to a better performance in this year’s tournament.

Burkina Faso would be among the favourites to qualify to the Round of 16 of the competition.


Ethiopia, popularly known as Walia Ibex, who won the competition in 1962 and have also qualified for the tournament since 2013, would be looking forward to their 11th appearance in the tournament.

The team, who are 137th on the FIFA ranking, would be looking forward to a miracle in the Group Stages of the tournament facing the likes of Cameroon and Burkina Faso who have dominated in the competition for quite a long time.

Coach Wubetu Abate, having players like Shemelis Bekele, Abubeke Nasir would be hoping to repeat their 1962 record once more.

Ethiopia might be considered to be outsiders to secure qualification to the next round but can certainly spring a surprise and upset the odds.

Cape Verde

The Blue Sharks of Cape Verde, are among the few teams who have not had that much experience in the AFCON tournament yet, tries to impress their supporters all over the world.

Cape Verde would be appearing at the African Cup of Nations for the third time. The team last appeared in the tournament in 2015 after reaching the quarterfinals in 2013.

The team’s performance over the years has been able to book them a 73rd spot on the FIFA rankings.

Coach Bubista this time round is sure of defeating the host nation, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso to make it to the round of 16 of the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Fixtures for Group A:

January 9: Ethiopia vs Cape Verde, Cameroon v Burkina Faso

January 13: Cameroon vs Ethiopia, Cape Verde vs Burkina Faso.

January 17: Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia, Cape Verde vs Cameroon.

Source: GNA

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