Group D: Betting Offers, Free Bets and Betting Tips
Check out everything you need to know about Group D in the Africa Cup of Nations, which includes Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania & Angola. Find the latest Africa Cup of Nations free bets and betting offers here, as well as the latest tips from our team of experts.
Group D features 2019 champions Algeria, 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso and two relative minnows, Mauritania and Angola, both seeking historic Africa Cup of Nations victories.
Group D Fixtures
All kick off times shown are GMT
Monday 15 January- 8pm: Algeria 1-1 Angola
Tuesday 16 January- 2pm: Burkina Faso 1-0 Mauritania
Saturday 20 January- 2pm: Algeria 2-2 Burkina Faso
Saturday 20 January- 5pm: Mauritania 2-3 Angola
Tuesday 23 January- 8pm: Angola 2-0 Burkina Faso
Tuesday 23 January- 8pm: Mauritania 1-0 Algeria
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Group D Team Profiles
FIFA World Ranking: 30.
Best AFCON Performance: Winners (1990 & 2019).
Algeria’s Top Tip
Algeria′s Star player- Riyad Mahrez
Having moved to Saudi Arabia in the summer, Riyāḍ Maḥrez is very much the forgotten man for English and European football fans but, despite now being 32 years old, he remains his country’s talisman.
The winger was a key figure in the Leicester City side that unexpectedly won the Premier League in 2015/16, named both PFA Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Year
Then, during five years with Manchester City, Maḥrez scored 78 goals, winning four league titles, two FA Cups, three EFL Cups and the Champions League in 2023, only the second Algerian to do so, after Rabah Madjer. For his national team, he’s won 89 caps, 11 short of Lakhdar Belloumi’s record that has stood since 1989, scoring 30 goals, needing 14 to match current teammate Islam Slimani’s record.
Maḥrez has netted at three different editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, including a stunning 95th minute free-kick against Nigeria in the 2019 semi-finals, one of the most dramatic goals in the tournament’s history.
Algeria′s manager- Djamel Belmadi
Head Coach Djamel Belmadi won 20 caps for Algeria during a playing career that also took him to Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Marseille, Manchester City, Southampton and others on the club side.
He was then named national team manager in 2018, following spells in charge of Qatar and then Al-Duhail. After less than a year in the job, he led the Desert Foxes to glory, more on that in a moment, before some tougher moments more recently.
Belmadi deploys a 4-3-3, or some variation, featuring Villarreal’s Aïssa Mandi and Rayan Aït-Nouri of Wolves, who’s a recent recruit, in defence. AC Milan’s Ismaël Bennacer and Nabil Bentaleb, of Spurs fame, sit at the base of midfield, allowing Houssem Aouar, who only switched allegiance from France earlier this year, to go and support the attack.
Captain Riyāḍ Maḥrez starts on the right with West Ham’s Saïd Benrahma on the opposite flank, while record scorer Islam Slimani, still going strong at 35, playing the role of target man centre-forward.
Algeria′s Africa Cup of Nations history
Algeria are two-times Africa Cup of Nations champions, capturing the trophy on home soil in 1990, before having to wait almost three decades to do so again.
In 2019, following knockout phase wins over Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, the Desert Foxes beat Senegal 1-0 in the final in Cairo, with Baghdad Bounedjah’s deflected shot, coming just 70 seconds in, the difference.
Thus, Djamel Belmadi’s team went into the 2022 edition as one of the favourites, but it certainly didn’t pan out that way. On the contrary, Algeria were held to a goalless draw by Sierra Leone, before defeats against both Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast saw them ignominiously finish rock bottom.
That is actually the sixth time they’ve gone out in the group phase in 12 editions they’ve qualified for since 1990, although this has never happened at back-to-back AFCONs.
Everything you need to know about Algeria
2022 certainly was not a year to remember for Algeria.
Following that embarrassing showing at the Africa Cup of Nations, they failed to qualify for the World Cup too. In their two-legged play-off against Cameroon, Ahmed Touba’s 118th minute goal, that made it 2-1 on aggregate deep into extra time, had seemingly won it, only for the visitors to strike in the 124th minute.
This saw the Desert Foxes miss out on a place in Qatar by virtue of away goals in the cruelest fashion imaginable, conceding with the last kick of a a tie that had lasted well over three hours.
Despite these back-to-back failures, the AFF chose to stick with manager Djamel Belmadi and, so far, this looks like being the right decision. Algeria have only lost one of 17 matches since that game against Cameroon, this a friendly defeat in Sweden, sailing through qualifying with five wins and a draw.
Thus, the 2019 champions have to be amongst the front runners to go all the way this year too, likely to top Group D and then, from there, who knows?
FIFA World Ranking: 57.
Best AFCON Performance: Finalists (2013).
Burkina Faso′s Top Tip
Burkina Faso′s Star player- Bertrand Traoré
Only three players from Burkina Faso have ever played in the Premier League, with Bertrand Traoré the first, followed by current players Dango Ouattara (Bournemouth) and Issa Kaboré (Luton).
Traoré didn’t make much of an impact at Chelsea but, following three successful years at Olympique Lyonnais, was bought by Aston Villa in 2020.
This move hasn’t worked out much either, sent out on loan to İstanbul Başakşehir last season, with Traoré seeing only 41 minutes of action in this campaign, most of which has come in the Europa Conference League.
For his national team however, he is the star, scoring 17 times in 71 caps, a goal tally only four Burkinabe men can better. Goals in November World Cup qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau and Ethiopia further underline Traoré's importance, as he seeks to score at a third different edition of AFCON.
Burkina Faso′s manager- Hubert Velud
Hubert Velud is certainly an experienced manager, having began his coaching career 34 years ago. He’s taken charge of umpteen clubs in both France and all across Africa, winning multiple titles during a short period with TP Mazembe, also managing both Togo and Sudan before taking over Burkina Faso in 2022.
Under Velud, les Étalons deploy a 4-3-3, featuring Luton’s Issa Kaboré as an attacking right-back, with Edmond Tapsoba of Bayer Leverkusen holding it all together.
In attack, Bertrand Troaré and Dango Ouattara will be out-wide while, through the middle with Lassina Traoré again sidelined long-term, Hassane Bandé will lead the line.
Burkina Faso′s Africa Cup of Nations history
Burkina Faso have never qualified for the World Cup to date, but have become a real force at Africa Cup of Nations in the last decade.
Les Étalons finished fourth on home soil in 1998, ousted by Egypt in the semi-finals, but this was an outlier, as they didn’t get out of their group in any of their other first six appearances, not so much as winning a game.
This though all changed in 2013, as the Stallions, against the odds, got all the way to the final, overcoming Ghana on penalties in the semis, ultimately dumped out 1-0 by Nigeria in Johannesburg.
Since then, Burkina Faso have featured in a further two semi-finals, beaten by Egypt in 2017 and Senegal in 2022, suggesting they could be dark horses in 2024.
Everything you need to know about Burkina Faso
As outlined, Burkina Faso are not one of Africa’s traditional juggernauts, nor do they have the most glamorous squad, but they must always be taken seriously.
Hubert Velud’s team topped their qualifying group, losing only once, but it is when the tournament starts that they really come to life.
Les Étalons should comfortably get out of this group and then no one will want to face them in the knockout stages.
FIFA World Ranking: 105.
Best AFCON Performance: Group stages (2019 & 2022).
Mauritania′s Top Tip
Mauritania′s Star player- Aboubakar Kamara
As one might imagine, there aren’t too many familiar faces in the Mauritania squad, but Aboubakar Kamara might be one of them, especially if you’re a Fulham fan.
He made 94 appearances for the Cottagers, scoring 17 goals, starting both play-off final victories at Wembley in 2018 and 2020.
Since having a fight with Aleksandar Mitrović during a yoga session in January 2019, yes really, he’s bounced around clubs, featuring for Yeni Malatyaspor, Dijon, Aris Thessaloniki and Olympiacos. Kamara then joined Al-Jazira in the UAE Pro League in September, making just one ten-minute cameo appearance for Frank de Boer’s team so far.
At international level, he switched allegiance to Mauritania as recently as 2021, but this has certainly been a successful decision. To date, Kamara has scored eight goals in just 17 appearances for the Lions of Chinguetti, three of which came in this qualification cycle, making him the top-scorer in Group I.
Mauritania′s manager- Amir Abdou
Amir Abdou was appointed Mauritania manager earlier this year, following the astonishing work he did in charge of the Comoros Islands.
The Frenchman guided Comoros to their first-ever AFCON in 2022, where they actually got out of their group, before a narrow defeat to hosts Cameroon in the round of 16.
Mauritania are hoping he can work similar magic with them.
Since Abdou’s arrival, this team have usually played a traditional 4-4-2, featuring Abdallahi Mahmoud, who plies his trade in Croatia, at the base of midfield, with Kamara their main goal-threat.
Mauritania′s Africa Cup of Nations history
If you’re ever on the UK quiz show Pointless, where obscure answers are key, and the category is ‘teams to have featured at the Africa Cup of Nations’ Mauritania would be a fantastic answer to give.
Over 40 years after first gaining CAF membership, the Lions of Chinguetti made their debut at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, but have now actually qualified for three editions on the spin. On debut, they managed to hold Angola and Tunisia to draws, but still finished bottom of their group, before losing all three matches in 2022, conceding seven goals and scoring zero.
Thus, only Namibia (9), Guinea-Bissau (9) and Mozambique (12) have played more AFCON matches without ever winning one.
Everything you need to know about Mauritania
As outlined above, Mauritania are rather new to the Africa Cup of Nations scene, so their aim is simply to win a first-ever match at the tournament.
Just getting here is a real success, pipping Gabon to second spot in Group I back in September, courtesy of a 2-1 win over the Panthers in Nouākchotṭ; Hemeya Tanjy and Aboubakar Kamara the decisive goal-scorers.
Now their second group stage game against Angola, more on them in just a second, taking place at Stade de la Paix is a golden opportunity for Mauritania to claim that illusive, historic first victory.
FIFA World Ranking: 117.
Best AFCON Performance: Quarter-finals (2008 & 2010).
Angola′s Top Tip
Angola′s Star player- Hélder Costa
Hélder Costa may be without a club right now, and only have 11 international caps to his name, but he’s still Angola’s most talented attacker.
Despite winning one senior cap for Portugal, marking it with a goal against Scotland at Hampden in 2018, this was only a friendly, so he was able to switch allegiance to Angola in 2021.
By netting against Egypt in a World Cup qualifier later that year, Costa became only the third man in history to score for two different national teams, after Alfredo Di Stéfano in the 1950s and José Altafini in the ‘60s.
He is one of many Portuguese-born players in this squad, as the FAF seek to improve the quality of the team by recruiting dual-nationals. However, having not played any club football since leaving Al-Ittihad in May, fitness could be issue for Costa.
Angola′s manager- Pedro Gonçalves
Sticking with that theme, head coach Pedro Gonçalves is also Portuguese.
Having worked as a youth team coach at various clubs in Portugal, he was appointed Angola U20s manager in 2018, before taking the senior national team gig the following year. Under Gonçalves, the Black Sable antelopes always operate out of a generally defensive 4-2-3-1, a style dictated by the fact they’re usually coming up against superior opposition.
They do have a few defensive players plying their trade at a high level, left-back Núrio Fortuna is at Gent while centre-back Anderson Lucoqui is with Hertha BSC, but their strength lies in attack.
The aforementioned Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro, who were once at Wolves together, could be out-wide, with either Lucas João, an EFL stalwart, or the squad’s top-scorer Gelson Dala leading the line.
Angola′s Africa Cup of Nations history
This will be Angola’s ninth Africa Cup of Nations appearances, although they’ve qualified somewhat sporadically since debuting at the 1996 edition.
The Black Sable antelopes featured at all five editions between 2006 and 2013, also appearing at the World Cup in Germany during this golden period, hosting the 2010 competition. In the subsequent decade however, they failed to qualify for three of four AFCONs, the sole exception being the 2019 edition, at which they didn’t win a match.
Overall, they’ve only ever won four of 26 games at the finals, beating Togo (2006), Senegal (2008), Malawi (2010) and Burkina Faso (2012), getting out of their group in both 2008 and 2010, the latter on home soil.
Reaching the round of 16 this time looks tough but not impossible, with Angola’s aim, first and foremost, to win an AFCON match for the first time in 12 years.
Everything you need to know about Angola
As outlined above Angola are not one of Africa’s traditionally strongest teams, so just qualifying for this tournament is a success in of itself.
To do so, Pedro Gonçalves’ team pipped Central African Republic to second spot in Group E on the final matchday, largely due to the fact they beat CAR both home and away during the campaign.
Overall however, they’ve won only six of their last 33 outings, most-recently held to a goalless draw by Mauritius in World Cup qualifying, so aren’t likely to make much impact at this tournament.