Ivory Coast vs South Africa
Competition: Africa Cup of Nations
Date: 24 June 2019
Kick-off: 16:30 CET
This is Ivory Coast’s 23rd appearance in the AFCON finals, a number putting them at the very top of the list among those present in Egypt these days. They have won the title twice, in 1992 and 2015. They started the qualifiers losing to Guinea at home(!), 2-3, but they stayed undefeated after that, won three games, drew in two, and finished second in their group, one point behind Guinea, but five ahead of third-placed Central African Republic. Coach Ibrahim Kamara has been in charge for a year now. He, as well as Serge Aurier, one of the team’s key figures, told reporters a couple of days ago that Ivory Coast’s target is to “go as far as possible”. They avoided… pompous promises, despite the fact that objectively, their roster is one of the best in this tournament.
South Africa have less than half of Ivory Coast’s appearances in the finals, this is their 10th one. The only time they went all the way and lifted the trophy was in 1996. Two years ago, they watched the finals from… home, as they failed to qualify. They finished second in their group in the qualifiers, one point behind winners Nigeria, but clearly (five points) ahead of third-placed Libya. Scotsman Stuart Baxter, in charge since March 2017, said the other day that “South Africa are a team in reconstruction”. For some reason, people back home are openly optimistic about their team’s chances in Egypt, with some experts seeing them go all the way(!), emulating their 1996 triumph. Baxter complained that the preparations ahead of the tournament were not the best possible, he wanted more friendly games booked, better travel plans set out, complaints that may… get him in trouble with the country’s FA, if results in Egypt are not good.
Previous five matches:
Ivory Coast vs Zambia 4-1
Ivory Coast vs Uganda 0-1
Ivory Coast vs Comoros 3-1
Ivory Coast vs Liberia 1-0
Ivory Coast vs Rwanda 3-0
Ghana vs South Africa 0-0
South Africa vs Malawi 0-0
Uganda vs South Africa 1-1
South Africa vs Botswana 2-2
Libya vs South Africa 1-2
Ivory Coast’s next game is against Morocco, on Friday. Same day, South Africa will face Namibia.
Ivory Coast vs South Africa: Head to head Stats
Ivory Coast and South Africa have played against each other just once before on neutral ground. That game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Ivory Coast vs South Africa: Prediction
I expect a tight game, but deep down, I trust Ivory Coast to do enough to win the match.
Ivory Coast vs South Africa: Betting Tips
Ivory Coast’s win is at 2.20. I’d stay with that, leaving number of goals aside.