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Africa Cup of Nations

Africa Cup of Nations Group E: Odds, Tips and Free Bets

Group E is our focus here, with all you need for the four teams taking part


Group E: Betting Offers, Free Bets and Betting Tips

Check out everything you need to know about Group E in the Africa Cup of Nations, which includes Tunisia, Mali, South Africa & Namibia. 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 E is wide-open, with both Tunisia and Mali firm favourites to reach the knockout phase, while South Africa and Namibia will also fancy their chances of advancing.

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Group E Fixtures

All kick off times shown are GMT

Tuesday 16 January- 5pm: Tunisia 0-1 Namibia

Tuesday 16 January- 8pm: Mali 2-0 South Africa

Saturday 20 January- 8pm: Tunisia 1-1 Mali

Sunday 21 January- 8pm: South Africa 4-0 Namibia

Wednesday 24 January- 5pm: South Africa 0-0 Tunisia

Wednesday 24 January- 5pm: Namibia 0-0 Mali

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Latest Africa Cup of Nations statistics, betting odds and results

Group E Team Profiles

Tunisia

FIFA World Ranking: 28.

Best AFCON Performance: Winners (2004).

Tunisia′s Top Tip

Tunisia′s Star player- Anis Ben Slimane

Despite having played only 146 minutes for Sheffield United this season, spread across six appearances, only one of which was a start, Anis Ben Slimane remains an integral figure for his country.

The 22-year-old has 30 international caps to his name, scoring four goals, starting against both Denmark and France, the latter a famous win, at the World Cup in Qatar last year.

His lack of club minutes has seen him not feature in Tunisia’s last five internationals, but we fully expect that to change at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Tunisia′s manager- Jalel Kadri

Jalel Kadri has been Tunisia head coach for almost two years, succeeding Mondher Kebaier straight after the most-recent AFCON.

He began his managerial career 22 years ago, leading 21 different clubs during this period, his longest spell coming at the helm of Al-Khaleej (76 games).

In charge of the national team, Kadri has experimented with a back three/five, but favours a 4-3-3. The aforementioned Anis Ben Slimane as well as Hannibal Mejbri could feature in midfield, with Aïssa Laïdouni at the base, while captain Youssef Msakni will lead the attack, set to reach 100 caps during the group phase.

This team is well-balanced, given that they keep plenty of clean sheets but also boast some attacking firepower too.

Tunisia′s Africa Cup of Nations history

Having been beaten in the finals of 1965 and 1996, Tunisia were crowned African champions for the very first time in 2004, winning the competition as hosts, beating fierce rivals Morocco 2-1 in the final in Radès.

The Eagles of Carthage are set to feature at a 16th successive edition of AFCON, last missing one in 1992, although, since hoisting aloft the trophy two decades ago, they’ve featured in just a solitary semi-final. This came in 2019, ousting Ghana and Madagascar, before a 1-0 extra time defeat to Senegal in Cairo.

Last time round, the quarter-finals proved to be Tunisia’s celling once again, as was also the case in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2017, this time beaten 2-1 by Egypt in Yaoundé, ousted in extra time.

So, the North African side are often there or thereabouts, so can they take that final step and go all the way?

Everything you need to know about Tunisia

As always, Tunisia began an Africa Cup of Nations campaign amongst the favourites, but, also as always, are unlikely to have the quality to go all the way.

The Eagles of Carthage have qualified for five of the last seven World Cups, including each of the last two, famously beating France 1-0 in Al Rayyan, with Wahbi Khazri the match-winner. They have since began the latest CAF World Cup qualifying cycle with back-to-back wins, beating São Tomé and Príncipe and Malawi, so expect to see them stateside in 2026.

This team does keep plenty of clean sheets, so are likely to be involved in lots of low-scoring match, but probably don’t have the individual brilliance in attack to beat any of the continent’s very best.


Mali

FIFA World Ranking: 51.

Best AFCON Performance: Finalists (2012 & 2013).

Mali′s Top Tip

Mali′s Star player- Yves Bissouma

Mali can boast, arguably, the strongest midfield of any team at this tournament, with Yves Bissouma very much the crown jewel of their team.

Bissouma is a familiar face to Premier League fans, having spent four seasons at Brighton & Hove Albion, now into his second campaign at Tottenham Hotspur.

For his country, the 27 year old has accumulated over 30 caps, bagging three goals, although that’s not what he’s in the team to do.

Mali′s manager- Éric Chelle

Éric Chelle was appointed Mali’s head coach as recently as May 2022, having been in charge of GS Consolat, Martigues and Boulogne, all in lower divisions in France, beforehand.

So far, in 12 matches in charge, Chelle has suffered just one defeat, favouring an attacking 4-3-3 formation. As mentioned, he has plenty of midfielders to choose from, with Yves Bissouma the obvious linchpin.

Alongside though could be any combination of Cheick Doucouré (Crystal Palace), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig), Mohamed Camara (Monaco), Diadie Samassékou (Olympiacos) or Ismaila Coulibaly (Sheffield United).

There are two Adama Traroés in this squad, neither of the are THAT Adama Traoré, with Ibrahima Koné the top-scorer in the team, having bagged 13 goals in 16 caps. Les Aigles are likely to be a fun, attacking team, so just how far will Éric Chelle’s outfit go?

Mali′s Africa Cup of Nations history

Mali’s best-ever run at an Africa Cup of Nations actually came on debut in 1972, beaten in the final by Congo over five decades ago.

Subsequently, les Aigles have featured in five semi-finals, but have never got beyond this stage, falling in the final four in 1994, 2002, 2004, 2012 and 2013, most recently hammered by Nigeria in Durban a decade ago. Overall, Mali have now qualified for nine successive editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, which is an achievement in of itself, although they haven’t won a knockout stage match for over ten years.

At the last two editions, the Eagles have been ousted in the round of 16, dumped out by Equatorial Guinea on penalties in 2022, so getting further than that has to be their aim this time round.

Everything you need to know about Mali

To date, 13 African Nations have featured at the World Cup, with Mali amongst the leading contenders to join that list in 2026, which is a long-winded way of saying this is an up-and-coming team on the rise.

Éric Chelle’s side began World Cup qualifying in November by beating Chad 3-1, following by a 1-1 draw with Central African Republic, although top spot in Group I is up for grabs, given Ghana’s downturn in form.

Before then of course, having won five out of six in qualifying, Mali have this edition of the Africa Cup of Nations to focus on, so could they be dark horses to make a deep run? At the last AFCON, the Eagles topped their group, thanks largely to a 1-0 win over Tunisia, a match made famous due to the fact referee Janny Sikazwe blew early for full time on multiple occasions.

That oddity set aside, there’s no reason why Mali can’t finish first in this group too and, if they do, who knows how far they could go?


South Africa

FIFA World Ranking: 66.

Best AFCON Performance: Winners (1996).

South Africa′s Top Tip

South Africa′s Star player- Lyle Foster

Lyle Foster was making waves in the Premier League not so long ago, but it remains to be seen if he will feature at this tournament.

At 23, his club career already resembles that of a journeyman, representing clubs in five different countries, namely Orlando Pirates, Monaco, Cercle Brugge and Vitória de Guimarães. Back in January, he moved from Westerlo to Burnley for €7 million, and his the ground running following their promotion to the Premier League, scoring against Aston Villa, Tottenham and then in the victory over Luton.

However, in early November, the Clarets announced Foster was taking a break from football due to the re-occurrence of a mental health issue, so has not been seen since 21 October.

We absolutely wish him all the best, it’s a step in the right direction that both he and his club feel they can go public with this, hoping to see him back in action again soon, possibly even at this tournament.

South Africa′s manager- Hugo Broos

Belgian Hugo Broos is a very experienced manager, beginning his coaching career way back in 1988.

As a player, Broos won 17 major trophies with Anderlecht and Club Brugge, including two Cup Winners’ Cups and a UEFA Cup, part of the Red Devils team that reached the semi-finals of Mexico ‘86. Since going into management, he’s taken charge of 11 clubs, including both Brugge and Anderlecht, as well as Panserraikos in Greece, Trabzonspor in Türkiye, Al Jazira in UAE and NA Hussein Dey in Algeria.

In 2016, he was appointed Cameroon manager, his first international role, leading them to Africa Cup of Nations glory a year later, so could become only the second man to win this competition in charge of two different teams, after Hervé Renard of course.

Broos has been in charge of South Africa since 2021, favouring a 4-2-3-1, with the width provided by Percy Tau and Bongokuhle Hlongwane, two of their most-talented players. Bafana Bafana have only kept three clean sheets in their last 11 outings, with this a team who favours attacking, but isn’t really talented enough to go toe-to-toe with the continent’s best.

South Africa′s Africa Cup of Nations history

Due to apartheid, South Africa were banned from entering the Africa Cup of Nations until the mid-1990s, debuting as hosts in 1996, going onto win that tournament, beating Tunisia in the final in Johannesburg.

Bafana Bafana would then reach the final again two years later, defeated by Egypt in Ouagadougou, before falling at the semi-final stage in 2000, ousted by hosts Nigeria. Since that spectacular introduction at their first three tournaments, it’s all been downhill from there.

South Africa have actually failed to qualify for four of the last seven AFCONs, including the most-recent edition, winning just five of their last 26 matches at the competition. Their sole knockout phase victory since 2000 was a memorable one however, stunning Cairo into silence by eliminating hosts Egypt in 2019, before being dumped out by Nigeria in the quarter-finals.

In summary, South Africa are the perennial under-achievers of African football, not qualifying for a World Cup on merit since 2002, despite their relatively vast resources, and that’s unlikely to change at this tournament.

Everything you need to know about South Africa

After missing the most-recent edition, South Africa were under enormous pressure to qualify for this tournament, but they did so with ease.

Bafana Bafana picked up seven points in a three-team group, crucially beating Liberia 2-1 in Monrovia before also claiming a shock victory by the same scoreline when Morocco visited Soccer City in June.

However, given that their most-recent result was a 2-0 defeat to Rwanda in Butare during a November World Cup qualifier, this team still has along way to go. Hugo Broos’ side will go into their clashes with Mali and Tunisia as underdogs, but will be favourites to beat Namibia on 21 January in Korhogo.

Thus, South Africa’s best hope of featuring in the knockout stages is probably to scrape through as one of the four best-ranked third-place finishers, but aiming to do that is never a great strategy.


Namibia

FIFA World Ranking: 115.

Best AFCON Performance: Group stage (1998, 2008 & 2019).

Namibia′s Top Tip

Namibia′s Star player- Elmo Kambindu

Namibia’s entire squad ply their trade in Africa, the vast majority of which are based in the domestic league, with Elmo Kambindu a rare exception.

The 30-year-old striker joined Chippa United in South Africa in 2022, scoring three goals in five Premier Division matches this season.

At international level, he has eight goals to his name, albeit the most-recent of which came against Togo in September 2021, running out of time to catch Peter Shalulile’s all-time record of 16.

Namibia′s manager- Collin Benjamin

Manager Collin Benjamin is most-closely associated with Hamburg, making 191 appearances for HSV, and remains the only Namibian to ever feature in the UEFA Champions League.

He also won 32 caps for his country and, after a four-year stint as assistant to Bobby Samaria, he was appointed national team Head Coach in 2022.

Benjamin has only had six games in charge, which is a small sample size, but has deployed some variation of a 4-2-3-1 in all of them, which becomes generally defensive, given that the Brave Warriors go into most games as underdogs.

Namibia′s Africa Cup of Nations history

Namibia only gained independence from South Africa as recently as 1990, very much qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations sporadically since.

The Brave Warriors debuted in 1998, before also featuring at the 2008 and 2019 editions. To date though, they’ve never won a match at the finals, holding Angola to a 3-3 draw at this debut tournament, before also picking up a point against Guinea a decade later.

Back in 2019, they were beaten by Morocco, South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, thereby one of only three teams, alongside Tanzania and Burundi, to leave Egypt without a solitary point to their name.

Thus, only Mozambique and Benin (who did prevail via a penalty shootout) have played more Africa Cup of Nations matches without ever winning one.

Everything you need to know about Namibia

As outlined above, Namibia’s primary aim is to win a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations match, although this certainly won’t be easy.

Simply qualifying is a major success, as they pipped Burundi to second spot in Group C, their sole win a shock 2-1 victory over Cameroon, in which Peter Shalulile and Absalom Iimbondi scored in a famous victory.

More-recently, in November in fact, the Brave Falcons began World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 defeat in Guinea-Bissau, before bouncing back by defeating minnows São Tomé and Príncipe 2-0. Namibia are the fourth-lowest ranked team at this tournament, currently 115th in the FIFA World Rankings, putting them below Tajikistan, Thailand and Azerbaijan, one spot above North Korea.

Thus, unfortunately, we expect Collin Benjamin’s to finish rock bottom of this group, and they’ll do well to pick up any points at all.


Ben Gray

Ben Gray

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