Based on that and my analysis of each team, I will also share my predictions and betting pick.
Africa Cup of Nations Group D Winner Odds
Let’s start with the betting odds for the Group D winner, courtesy of Betway.
You can instantly see how close this group is by the prices. Ivory Coast is the favorite, but Morocco and South Africa still have their chances.
If you look at the names of the players of those three countries, the odds make sense. However, we all know that soccer is a team game. The system and the tactics of each team are crucial; it’s
not only about the individual players.
That’s why I expect a lot from Morocco and South Africa. Both sides have a lot of discipline and work hard, so Ivory Coast will find it hard to win the group.
As for Namibia, I don’t think that anyone expects them to be involved in the fight for the top spot. Getting a point or more would be quite the feat for this team.With that said, let’s take a
deeper look at all countries in this Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations.
FIFA Rankings: 65
Coach: Ibrahima Kamara
Key Players: Eric Bailly, Wilfried Zaha, Nicolas Pepe, Jean Michael Seri
A quick look at the Ivory Coast squad would be enough to understand why the country is the favorite not only to win this Group D but is also one of the sides expected to fight for the Africa Cup
of Nations. The team features a bunch of top players from the leading European leagues.
You will see Eric Bailly and Serge Aurier at the back, guys like Jean Seri, Nicolas Pepe, and Franck Kessie in the middle of the park, and a front line led by Wilfried Zaha. And I just mentioned
the stars of this team; there are plenty of other squad members that are part of big clubs in Europe.
On paper, this is one of the strongest squads in the 2019 AFCON. If you take a look at the road to the Finals, though, Ivory Coast was not that impressive on the pitch. The country failed to win
a rather modest group with the teams of Guinea, Central African Republic, and Rwanda.
The Elephants were especially unconvincing away from home, winning only one game and scoring three goals in three matches. Considering the level of the opposition, this was rather disappointing.
The fans of the team will be hoping that Ivory Coast underestimated the qualifiers and the players will show their true colors in Egypt this summer.
A lot of that lies on the shoulders of the head coach Ibrahima Kamara. He must find a way to use his stars in the best way possible without disrupting the discipline of the side. That won’t be an
easy task, as many of the players will feel that Kamara has to accommodate them.
In all honesty, I feel that the Ivory Coast squad has too many leaders. That could be an issue on the pitch, as we’ve seen it in the past. Sometimes, only two or three top players are enough,
because you need more modest and hard-working team members too.
I still think that Ivory Coast will make it out of the group stage, but I’m not exactly sure if the team will be able to win Group D. On the surface, the price of +125 is not bad, but the
competition of Morocco and South Africa will be strong.
I expect all three teams to beat Namibia, so Ivory Coast will have to win at least four points in the games against the other contenders in the group to get the top spot. That could prove to be
an issue, so I will pass on backing the country.
FIFA Rankings: 45
Coach: Herve Renard
Key Players: Medhi Benatia, Hakim Ziyech, Younes Belhanda, Achraf Hakimi
Remember when I mentioned that a team with a couple of stars and a bunch of hard workers might work better than a squad full of stars? Well, that’s what Morocco is about. The country has a couple
of world-class players but also plenty of guys who will be happy to run the ground for the pride of representing their nation.
The experienced captain Medhi Benatia leads the defense expertly, as we saw in the AFCON qualifiers. Morocco won a group that featured the reigning champions Cameroon, conceding only three goals
in the process.
On the other end, the team can rely on exceptional players like Younes Belhanda and Hakim Ziyech. The Ajax attacking midfielder is coming after a sensational season on a club level.
Ziyech was instrumental for the Dutch title and scored plenty of goals to help the team reach the last four of the UEFA Champions League. The confidence of the playmaker should help him shine in
Egypt as well.
Even if we exclude the leaders of the Morocco squad, it’s still tough to find weak links. The team is a nice mix of youth and experience. There are enough players from the best European leagues,
and this seems like a better version of the side that played in the 2018 World Cup.
The head coach Herve Renard deserves a lot of credit for the performance of the team. The specialist has already won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast in the past. He
will be hoping to become the only coach to win the competition with three different teams.
All things considered, Morocco is certainly prepared for a deep run in the 2019 AFCON. The team has strong leaders, enough role players, and a coach that is a proven winner.
The first big step would be qualifying from Group D, and I think that Renard would be eager to see his team finish in the top spot. That would provide an easier opponent in the knockouts.
The odds of +175 look great, despite the strong competition.
FIFA Rankings: 73
Coach: Stuart Baxter
Key Players: Lebo Mothiba, Thulani Serero, Bongani Zungu, Percy Tau
The road to the finals has been tough for South Africa. The country was in the same group with strong teams like Nigeria and Libya. It all went down to the wire, as the second place was unclear
until the very last game.
And yet, South Africa showed character to beat a solid Libyan side away from home. The main weapon of this team is the exceptional defense that conceded only twice during the Africa Cup of
The whole lineup is working hard to protect the goal, starting from the forwards. The head coach Stuart Baxter knows that he doesn’t have superstars in this team, but he has a group that is
willing to make up for that with a lot of running.
The results are clear, and I feel that South Africa has the potential to be one of the surprises of the tournament in Egypt. The problem is getting out of this group. Both Ivory Coast and Morocco
will be tough to beat, but even the third place could bring a spot in the knockouts.
I think that South Africa should be able to beat Namibia rather comfortably, so a draw and a close loss in the other two games should be enough. If the team is capable of replicating the
defensive performance from the qualifiers, I won’t be surprised to see South Africa in the last 16.
However, I don’t see the team finishing first in this Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations. The price of +275 might be tempting, but both Morocco and Ivory Coast seem better than South Africa.
Finishing above one of the sides is not that far-fetched, but beating both would be tough.
FIFA Rankings: 113
Coach: Ricardo Mannetti
Key Players: Peter Shalulile, Petrus Shitembi, Hendrik Somaeb
I must admit that I don’t know any of the Namibian players well. Most of them are part of African clubs, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that the country managed to earn a place in the Africa
Cup of Nations Finals.
Namibia scored only five goals and conceded seven in the qualifying group, but the nation found the net when it mattered the most. Two close wins and two draws were enough for Namibia to finish
above Mozambique and Zambia in the closest qualifying group.
It’s curious that the country had the worst goal difference of all teams, but the direct clashes were the tiebreaker at the end.
The next big task for Namibia would be to perform well in the finals of 2019 AFCON. The nation is yet to register a win on this stage, and I’m not sure if it will happen this time around.
All of the other three teams in this Group D are much stronger, at least on paper. The only hope for Namibia comes from the fact that the side showed a lot of resilience in the qualifiers. I
expect a conservative style with plenty of men behind the ball in Egypt.
The commitment and defensive approach of Namibia make the team hard to beat, but the opponents in this group are simply too strong. Each of them has the players to unlock the Namibian defense, so
I expect three defeats for the country.
The price of +3300 might seem insane, but it’s actually accurate. Winning the group or even getting one victory during the tournament looks like mission impossible for Namibia.
Africa Cup of Nations Group D Betting Pick and Predictions
I will exclude Namibia, as I feel that the country won’t play a role in this Group D. The first place feels like a coin toss between Ivory Coast and Morocco.
The North African side has the better automation, while the Elephants are full of stars. Since the odds for Morocco are higher, I will back them to win the group.
South Africa has the potential to mess with the big boys, but it will be tough. The good news is that the country certainly has a solid chance to progress to the next round as one of the four
best third-placed teams in the AFCON 2019 group stage.
In fact, that’s my final prediction. I feel that all three favorites from Group D will reach the knockouts, and Morocco is my pick for the first spot.
PICKMorocco to Win Group D+175
This is certainly a tough group to predict. On the bright side, backing any of the top three sides comes with a solid price, so it might be worth it.
I believe Morocco is the best bet here, but I can see a case for both Ivory Coast and South Africa too. What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you want more on the tournament, we have a special Africa Cup of Nations betting guide. It features a lot of odds,
updates, and there will be game picks too, once the competition starts. Make sure to check the page, as it may help you make some money during AFCON 2019.