If AFCON 2017 has a group of death then it is certainly Group A, where Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso have had to compete with tournament hosts Gabon and Cameroon.
Victory here is essential for both of these sides, whether for points or pride, and so we can expect a full-blooded affair on January 22 when they lock horns.
1. Match Preview
Guinea-Bissau wasn’t even a recognised country in 2015 when the last African Cup of Nations tournament was held – the political machinations in the region meaning that Equatorial Guinea and simply Guinea did battle, with the former reaching the semi-final stage and the latter bowing out in the last eight. So there is a fine footballing tradition in the country, and the Guinea-Bissau formation will be looking for a big performance here.
Burkina Faso is less recognisable as one of African’s leading lights, but an impressive qualifying campaign – albeit in a weak group featuring Uganda, Botswana and Comoros – will have filled them with confidence heading into the tournament. They would have been looking to emulate the class of 2013, who finished runners up in this very competition.
So, that’s a potted history of the two sides, but who will add another historic moment to their resumé with victory here?
2. The Bookies Choice
On paper this is a very close contest and so has been proven by the proximity in the odds offered by the bookmakers, although they are suggesting that Burkina Faso – just – are the stronger outfit; bet365 has them pegged at 1.80.
The excellent form of Guinea-Bissau heading into the tournament will have piqued the interest of many a bettor, and at 4.80 they will be invested in readily by some. The draw is available at 3.30.
3. Guinea-Bissau v Burkina Faso Betting Tips
When previewing these AFCON encounters we are always looking for the players that can make a difference; who, in these typically close fought games, can come up with a moment of magic to see their team home.
The Guinea-Bissau squad, as inexperienced as it is on the international stage, is made up of mostly young talents and journeymen that largely ply their trade in the Portuguese lower leagues. They are a hard working team but one lacking in those sparkling individuals that can bring games to life.
But Burkina Faso have some excellent talents at their disposal, and perhaps the most eye-catching is Bertrand Traore, the tricky forward on loan at Ajax Amsterdam from Chelsea. He is a player to watch out for in years to come.
The 21-year-old is surrounded by plenty of international and AFCON experience, with Bakary Kone, Charles Kabore and Jonathan Pitroipa boasting more than 200 international caps between them. On this big stage, that knowhow could prove invaluable.
And so we are going to be backing a Burkina Faso victory here, and will also be dipping our feet into the team goals market: Burkina Faso to score Over 1.5 Goals.
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