The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations is proving to be an entertaining mix of strong teams, top players and tasty matchups throughout January and early February.
The 33rd edition of the tournament has been pushed back from summer 2021 and is ongoing. The tournament is hosted by Cameroon with a total of 52 matches over 29 days.
Favorites to win the competition include Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal, 20th in the latest FIFA rankings, as well as defending champions Algeria, star-studded Egypt and a highly experienced Moroccan side. Among the 24 qualified teams are 10 former winners of the event. There are also two debutants in this year’s field, with Comoros and Gambia taking part in their first AFCON tournament.
MORE: The 10 best players of AFCON 2022
Below you’ll find all the information you need for the competition, including how to watch, a tournament schedule and betting favourites.
How to watch AFCON 2022
- Dated: From Sunday 9 January to Sunday 6 February
- TV channel: beIN Sports, beIN Sports XTRA
- Television in Spanish: beIN Sports in Spanish, XTRA in Spanish
- Diffusion: fuboTV, beIN Sports Connect and other platforms
- YouTube TV (only available on the additional sports package), Sling TV (only available on the additional sports package for Sling Orange)
The month-long Africa Cup of Nations tournament is available on beIN Sports (English) and beIN Sports in Spanish (Spanish) in the United States and Canada. Broadcaster beIN Sports’ free channel XTRA will also show several matches.
MORE: Full AFCON 2022 TV schedule
beIN streams are also available for Fanatiz users and YouTube TV (sports package) and Sling TV (sports package for Sling Orange). And since beIN XTRA is free, it is available on a host of other streaming platforms including Roku and Pluto TV.
AFCON 2022 tournament key dates
- Group stage, round 1: Sun. January 9 – Wed. January 12
- Group stage, round 2: From Thursday 13 January to Sunday 16 January
- Group stage, 3rd round: From Monday 17 January to Thursday 20 January
- Round of 16: Sun. January 23 – Wed. January 26
- Quarter-finals: Sat 29 Jan – Sun 30 Jan
- Semi-finals: From Wednesday 2 February to Thursday 3 February
- Match for the final and 3rd place: Sun 6 February
There is a World Cup cadence to this tournament with an intense period of 36 group stage matches to start, followed by eight days of knockout matches (14 matches) which brings us to the final day on Sunday February 6. . Before the championship match, there will be a match for 3rd place as an appetizer.
MORE: Updated AFCON Group Rankings and Schedules
2022 Africa Cup of Nations betting favorites
Among the 24 teams competing in the month-long tournament, there are obviously favorites and underdogs.
To decide who to back, watching recent World Cup qualifying is a great place to see which teams are playing well and which have slipped. Morocco were the only team to win all six games, although their group of Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sudan were less than difficult. AFCON hosts Cameroon, favorites Senegal and value picks Mali all finished with five wins from six qualifiers, while Egypt and Algeria finished unbeaten with four wins and two draws.
MORE: AFCON 2022 betting favorites and breakdowns
However, one team brimming with in-form players not mentioned above is Ivory Coast. The Elephants finished second in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers with a 4-1-1 record, losing only to group winners Cameroon in a 1-0 result that eliminated Cote D ‘Ivoire and sent Cameroon to the final round of World Cup qualifying.
Yet this is a nation that has incredible attacking talent. Sebastien Haller is perhaps the fittest player in the world, scoring 10 goals in six Champions League group stage appearances for Ajax, and he’s backed by dribbling masters Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe on the wings, plus the Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet who was fit before a recent injury. The back line is also battle tested, with Eric Bailly in central defence. Bailly was supposed to link up with the Wolves defender Willy Boly, but injury forced him out of the squad, meaning the 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen starter Odilon Kossounou will take over.
Finally, there is the midfield, anchored by the partnership of Jean-Michel Seri and Frank Kessie (pictured above), both in fine form for their clubs Fulham and AC Milan. Add Eredivisie star Ibrahim Sangare having a stellar season for PSV Eindhoven, and there’s a lot to like about this Elephants side. They present an excellent combination of value and form.
If you’re looking for a pick higher up the list, second-seeded Algeria are also a talented side, and they could very well repeat themselves as champions.
TAKE: Ivory Coast winner (+750)
Here are the top 10 teams expected to win it all before the tournament kicks off with odds provided by BetMGM:
2022 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer favorites
Form is important for goalscorers heading into international competition and there are just three players who stand out from their recent club careers: Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez and Sebastien Haller.
Salah has been in spectacular club form, scoring or assisting in 15 consecutive Premier League games, but he looked tired in the few games just before leaving for AFCON. Haller has also been a goalscoring machine this season, with a staggering 10 goals in six Champions League group stage games for Ajax, plus another 12 in the Eredivisie in 17 appearances.
MORE: Premier League players at AFCON 2022
But neither is in particularly good goalscoring form with their respective national teams, which matters just as much. Haller has just eight international caps to his name, and a brace in the 2-1 win over Cameroon in September’s World Cup qualifier accounts for two of his three international goals. Salah, meanwhile, hasn’t scored for the national team since March, when he netted a brace against lowly Comoros.
It’s Riyad Mahrez who is in special form for club and country, which arguably sets him apart. Mahrez has recently come into his own at Manchester City, with four goals and three assists in his last four appearances. The 30-year-old has also been a central figure for the national team, scoring a stunning 11 goals in his last 11 games for Algeria since October 2020. Mahrez will be set for a deep run in the tournament with Algeria. , offering him a maximum of games to collect a winning total.
TAKE: Riyadh Mahrez (+800)
These are the 15 players with the shortest chances of winning the AFCON 2022 top scorer award ahead of the tournament, courtesy of BetMGM:
|Sebastien Haller||Ivory Coast||+1200|
|Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting||Cameroon||+2500|