Africa Cup of Nations

AFCON daily betting tips, free bets and betting offers - Tuesday 16 January

Three more Africa Cup of Nations group stage matches coming your way on Tuesday, with the day’s headline fixture saved for last as potential dark horses Mali take on 1996 champions South Africa.

AFCON tip of the day

Burkina Faso vs Mauritania

In the day’s early kick off in Bouaké, Burkina Faso will be hoping this is the start of yet another memorable Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

Les Étalons reached the final of this competition for the very first time 11 years ago, ultimately beaten by Nigeria in Johannesburg, before also reached the semi-finals in both 2017 and 2022.

In Cameroon two years ago, they knocked out both Gabon and then Tunisia, before succumbing to Senegal in the last four.

So, while Hubert Velud’s team may not be the most star-studded, nor are Burkina Faso the most famous name in African football, but this is a team that should not be underestimated.

Their first opponents at this edition are Mauritania, who’ve now qualified for three successive Africa Cup of Nations, after debuting as recently as 2019.

The Lions of Chinguetti held both Angola and Tunisia to draws on debut five years ago, but lost all three matches last time round, so are still searching for their maiden win at a major tournament.

There have already been a few upsets at this year’s tournament, but Burkina Faso should be too strong for Mauritania at Stade de la Paix.

Tunisia vs Namibia

Over at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Group E gets underway and Tunisia are overwhelming favourites to pick up three points.

The Eagles of Carthage may have qualified for five of the last seven World Cups, but they’ve only ever won this competition once, triumphing on home soil 20 years ago now.

In nine tournaments since then, Tunisia have reached just a solitary semi-final, this coming in 2019 when their dreams were shattered by Senegal after extra time in Cairo.

Last time round, they suffered a sixth quarter-final exit in nine editions, on the wrong end of a shock in Garoua, dumped out by Burkina Faso.

Now led by Jalel Kadri, Tunisia come into this campaign with renewed optimism, so could they be dark horses to go all the way?

Namibia meantime are set to make just their fourth AFCON appearance, also featuring in 1998, 2008 and 2019, although they’re yet to win a match at the finals.

The Brave Warriors lost all three matches in Egypt five years ago, with Collin Benjamin’s team widely-expected to finish bottom of their group again.

Tunisia have won all three previous meetings with Namibia, most-recently prevailing 2-0 in Radès 14 years ago, with a similar scoreline expected in Korhogo.

Mali vs South Africa

The final game from Tuesday’s slate of fixtures is probably the toughest to call, albeit Mali will fancy their chances of picking up three points.

Les Aigles reached back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals in 2012 and 2013, but have got no further than the round of 16 subsequently, dumped out by Côte d’Ivoire in 2019 and Equatorial Guinea two years ago.

This time, Éric Chelle’s team are hopeful of making a deeper run, given that his squad features some high-quality players, namely Yves Bissouma, Boubacar Traoré, Amadou Haidara and more.

So, will Mali make a winning start in Korhogo?

South Africa meantime are the continent’s great underachievers, winning this competition on debut in 1996, having previously been banned due to apartheid, but have made little to no impact in more recent times.

Since 2000, Bafana Bafana have got no further than the quarter-finals, actually failing to qualify for four of the last seven tournaments, including the most-recent edition.

Hugo Broos’ side did negotiate qualification this time, notably beating Morocco 2-1 at Soccer City last June, although this is more an outlier, rather than an indicator that this team are primed to achieve something special.

Just getting out of this group would be a success for South Africa, while Mali have loftier aspiration, making the Eagles favourites to leave Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly with the points.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".