At face value, Group D of AFCON 2017 appears to be the easiest to predict, with Egypt and Ghana battling it out for top spot and Mali and Uganda fighting to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon. As we know, football doesn’t always pan out as we expect it to, but Egypt should be comfortable enough here.
1. Egypt vs Uganda Preview
The Egyptians are the most decorated team in this competition with seven victories, and so there modern day drought is something of a surprise. They won three African Cup of Nations’ on the bounce from 2006 to 2010, but there has been nothing for them to celebrate since – not even a semi-final appearance. Perhaps the golden years of Egyptian football are over.
At least they are producing potentially world class talents again, with the outstanding Mohamed Salah joined by the talented prospects Mohamed Elneny and Ramadan Sobhy in the squad. The appointment of Hector Cuper as manager is a smart move too, with Egypt winning 12 of the 17 matches he has taken charge of. Perhaps the glory days are set to return?
As for Uganda, well, this is a team blessed with little pedigree in this tournament or star names to call upon. This is the first time they will participate in the final stages of an AFCON event since 1978, and since then they have either failed to qualify or withdrew during the qualification process. Life as a Ugandan football supporter is never straightforward.
At least they qualified for this tournament with relative ease, and their last three performances have been impressive enough: a win over Congo and a draw with Ghana in World Cup 2018 qualifiers particularly pleasing.
So, Egypt can expect a challenging 90 minutes, but will they have enough to get over the line?
2. Betting Odds
It is no surprise to see Egypt installed as comfortable favourites by the bookmakers, and at an industry best price of 1.66 bet365 has them their most likely victor.
But as mentioned, Uganda will prove to be no pushovers, and so there will be interest in the 5.00 price available on them, as well as the draw at 3.40.
3. Egypt v Uganda - Other Tips
What we can expect is a low scoring encounter. Only one of Uganda’s six qualifying matches witnessed three or more goals – that gives an idea of how they like to set-up, and so patience and persistence will be required on the part of the Egyptians. They only conceded one goal themselves in qualifying, so goals will be at a premium.
As such, we wouldn’t put any punters off from an Under 2.5 Goal wager, but certainly backing Egypt to win by a slim margin – one goal – would be the smart investment. In tight matches like these we are always looking for a player of quality to break the stranglehold, and in Mohamed Salah the Egyptians have a player capable of gracing any stage. He may need to shine the brightest of all here.
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