Gabon vs Guinea Bissau
African Cup of Nation 2017
Date: Saturday, 14th, January 2017.
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT/ 17:00 WAT
Venue: Stade d’Angondjé, Libreville.
Team News – Gabon
Gabon have only won two matches out of 12 in the past year, both friendlies. This seemingly poor record is, of course, distorted by the fact that they didn't have to play any Cup of Nations qualifying matches.
Nevertheless, it's hardly the confidence boosting run of form that their fans would wish for, as their team embark upon a potentially momentous tournament in the nation's sporting history. Their last three run-outs have been particularly troubling. They failed to score against Morocco and Mali, in crucial World Cup qualifying ties in the autumn, before labouring to a 1-1 friendly draw at home to Comoros.
This is especially worrying because Gabon possess, in Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, one of the world's best strikers, voted by his fellow Bundesliga professionals as the best player in that league, and continually linked with the game's biggest clubs. Aubameyang now finds himself in the same position as Alan Shearer, prior to Euro 96 – the ace home striker in poor international form. Shearer stepped up to score five goals in that tournament, the top marksman in the competition, and helped his country to the brink of the final. The pressure is now on Aubameyang to produce something similar.
Given his, and the team's, poor form, Gabon's price to win the match, no better than 9/20 at Bet Victor, is hardly tempting. Even if the Dortmund target man can’t find his shooting boots, he's actually favourite to be top scorer with Paddy Power offering 7/1, it's certainly not impossible the hosts could go all the way in a competition that can sometimes produce a surprising outcome. Bet Victor currently offer the best price on Gabon to win the tournament at 10/1 and that may go in the predictions of those who love a big price.
Team News – Guinea Bissau
Guineau-Bissau only played four matches last year, all Cup of Nations qualifiers, beating Kenya twice and Zambia, but losing at Congo. It's several years since they played a team with any real quality, to gauge what they're really made of, but they appear to be a squad of journeymen at best, much of their line-up being second and third-tier players in the Portuguese pyramid.
Furthermore, this is Cande's only coaching position to date, so he's hardly bringing a wealth of international experience to the dug-out. On paper, they're obviously rank outsiders, the tournament's biggest underdogs, in fact. William Hill offer 250/1 on them winning the competition. That won’t show up in many betting tips, even at the price.
More realistically, their solid, if unspectacular, results last year and their respectable world ranking, mean they can't be taken lightly at least. As the cliché goes, there are few easy matches in international football these days.
Gabon: Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1)
Ovono – Biyogho Poko, Appidangoye, Ecuele Manga, Obiang – Tandjigora, Ndong – Lemina, Madinda, Evouna – Aubameyang.
Guinea Bissau: Predicted Line-Up (4-5-1)
Mendes – Agostinho, Emmanuel, Juary, Rudinilson – Soares, Bocundji, Idrissa, Piqueti, Zezinho – Federic.
Gabon vs Guinea Bissau: Head to Head Statistics
Both sides will be facing each other for the first time in an AFCON competition, and even a competitive game in general. However, Guinea seems like the better side in terms of competitive games; as the Djurtus have lost just one of their last 4 competitive games.
On the other hand, aside for the Africa Nation championship for players based in Africa, the panthers were involved in just 2 competitive games last year and recorded goalless draw in those two games.
Gabon vs Guinea Bissau: Prediction
Jittery and inexperience will definitely set in as Guinea Bissau will be making her first AFCON appearance. However the young side can draw some inspiration from the miraculous and energetic qualification campaign. Gabon has also become a force to reckon with as they have enjoyed steady football growth since their AFCON debut in Tunisia 1994; and just missing out 3 times in 9 of the edition that follows their 1994 debut.
These promises to be a great tournament opener, Gabon will be having the full support of its residing fans, while Guinea Bissau will be savouring the pride and joy of playing in Africa biggest tournament.
However, I will be predicting a 3 goals outcome, and a narrow margin win for Gabon.
Gabon vs Guinea Bissau: Bet Tips
Gabon to win at 1.40 (2/5)
Over 2.5 goals at 2.20 (11/10).