Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The race to be crowned the best team in Africa has started to intensify, as the continent’s best 16 sides prepare to contest the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 over the next 5 days.
The competition’s remaining combatants will all be dreaming of AFCON glory this year having successfully navigated their way through a drama-filled Group Stage, and all 16 of the nations will have designs on making it all the way to the tournament’s Final in Cairo on July 19th.
The Round of 16 throws up some fascinating looking duels across the 8 fixtures scheduled to be played between July 5th and 8th.
Take a look at who we think will make it to the Quarter Finals and our massive 8-fold 405/1 accumulator below!
Remember – we’ll be covering all the AFCON Round of 16 action in our match preview section here.
5 July 2019
18:00 Morocco vs Benin (Al Salam Stadium, Cairo)
Morocco coasted through Group D having won 3 games out of 3 against Ivory Coast, South Africa and Namibia respectively. However, having won each contest by identical, slender 1-0 margins, there are understandably concerns about their goal-scoring power.
Defensively however, Morocco have looked superb, and they will back themselves to maintain their 100% clean sheet record against a Benin side that scored only twice on their way to finishing 3rd in Group F.
Morocco have the quality and top-level experience in their ranks to ease past Benin in Cairo this week, and at 1/2 with bet365, they look fabulous value to do just that.
5 July 2019
21:00 Uganda vs Senegal (Cairo International Stadium, Cairo)
Uganda were one of the surprise packages of the AFCON Group Stage, battling their way into second spot in Group A to secure their spot in the knockout round of the competition for the first time since 1978.
Pre-tournament dark horses Senegal needed a Match Day 3 win over Kenya to secure their passage to the knock-out rounds. Sadio Mane scored his first 2 goals of the competition against the Kenyans, and with the Liverpool man finally finding form, we think Senegal will have too much attacking thrust for Uganda in the Egyptian capital.
Senegal are priced at 1/2 with bet365 to beat Uganda and progress deeper in the 2019 AFCON at their rivals’ expense – and we think that’s brilliant value.
6 July 2019
18:00 Nigeria vs Cameroon (Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria)
In one of the most intriguing looking Round of 16 fixtures, Nigeria’s Super Eagles will be aiming to sink their talons into defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Cameroon in Alexandria.
Nigeria were beaten to top spot in Group B by a surprisingly impressive Madagascar team, and although manager Thomas Dennerby will be pleased with his team’s progression, the lack of quality they showed in front of goal will certainly be worry.
Nigeria hit the net just twice in their 3 Group matches – a miserly goal haul matched exactly by their Round of 16 opponents Cameroon.
The current AFCON title holders’ unbeaten record remains intact however, and we’re tipping them to edge out a Nigeria team that had their confidence wobbled by Madagascar in Group B Match Day 3.
Cameroon are priced generously at 2/1 with bet365 to get the victory they need against Nigeria later this week.
6 July 2019
21:00 Egypt vs South Africa (Cairo International Stadium, Cairo)
Host nation Egypt enjoyed a fabulous Group campaign in Cairo, taking 3 points and a clean sheet from each of their Group A fixtures against Uganda, DR Congo and Zimbabwe respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the talismanic Mohamed Salah has been central to Egypt’s success, and the 27-year old Champions League winner comes into this week’s Round of 16 game with some serious goalscoring momentum having hit the net in each of the Egyptian’s last 2 Group games.
South Africa somehow sneaked into the knock out rounds as the 4th best 3rd placed-team, even though they were beaten in 2 of their 3 Group D fixtures. Their meeting with Egypt on July 6th has the look of a mismatch however, and we expect the South Africans luck to run out.
You can back Egypt to triumph this week at 9/20 with bet365.
7 July 2019
18:00 Madagascar vs DR Congo (Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria)
Island nation Madagascar made history in 2019 by competing at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time ever, and the Barea have had a debut tournament to remember so far, topping Group B and earning a place in the competition’s knock out rounds.
DR Congo needed an emphatic 4-0 Match Day 3 victory against Group A whipping boys Zimbabwe to drag themselves into the Round of 16 as one of the best 3rd placed teams, however, we think all the positive momentum is with Madagascar ahead of Sunday’s clash.
The bookies still expect Madagascar’s fairy-tale to end soon, meaning that they are still available at a lucrative looking 13/5 with bet365 to push their way past an out of sorts DR Congo side.
7 July 2019
21:00 Algeria vs Guinea (30 June Stadium, Cairo)
Algeria are one of three teams to have taken maximum points from their AFCON Group Stage matches, though Djamel Belmadi’s men scored more goals en-route to the knockout rounds than the other nations with a perfect Group record.
The Algerians managed to keep their goals against column unblemished in Group C, shining a light on the depth of quality running right through their team from front to back.
Guinea finished a disappointing 3rd in Group B behind Madagascar and Nigeria, and having struggled to find any rhythm in Egypt so far, we expect the Guineans to offer little resistance to a well-rounded Algeria outfit.
Algeria are priced at cracking looking 4/5 odds with bet365 to see of the Guinean challenge in Cairo on Sunday.
8 July 2019
18:00 Mali vs Ivory Coast (Suez Stadium, Suez)
Ivory Coast’s star-studded side negotiated the Group Stage with relative comfort, winning 2 of their 3 matches on their way to qualifying for the Round of 16 as runners-up behind Morocco.
The Ivorians flexed their considerable attacking muscle in their 4-1 Match Day 3 win over Namibia – a result that Coach Ibrahim Kamara will hope to use as a springboard for improved performances.
Group E winners Mali showed just how dangerous a team they can be en-route to topping a tricky looking section ahead of Tunisia, Angola and Mauritania, taking 7 points from the 9 on offer.
With a heavier sprinkling of star dust in their ranks, we’re backing Ivory Coast’s extra quality to tell in Suez however, and you can back them to beat Mali at 11/8 with bet365.
8 July 2019
21:00 Ghana vs Tunisia (Ismailia Stadium, Ismailia)
Two solid, if unspectacular teams go head-to-head in Ismailia when Ghana and Tunisia contest their AFCON Round of 16 tie on Monday.
Both teams have yet to taste defeat in Egypt, though Ghana have fared slightly better so far than their opponents, finishing at the summit of Group F, while Tunisia had to be content with second spot in Group E.
With a distinct lack of cutting edge and quality in attack on both sides, we’re expecting Ghana’s tussle with Tunisia to be an attritional battle for inches.
Ghana have lost just once of their last 14 international matches overall since August 2017 however, and that largely positive, long-running sequence should just about give them the self-belief they need to force a win next week.
With that considered, we think Ghana are priced nicely at 17/10 with bet365 to win against Tunisia.
An 8-fold accumulator featuring our selections above is available at a whopping 405/1 with bet365!! Click the banner below to bet now!
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