Sunday 23 June: 3.30pm KO
Live on EuroSport
Morocco have been waiting 43 years for their second African Cup of Nations title. They begin their 2019 campaign with a Group D match against Namibia who are ranked 76 places below them.
You have to go back to 1976 for the last time Morocco won this tournament. That was their only triumph but 28 years later, they again reached the final but this time lost to Tunisia. Moroco made it to the quarter finals of the last tournament, going down to Egypt (this year’s hosts). You can get 12/1 (13.0) at Bet365 on Morocco winning this year.
Last year saw Morocco qualify for the World Cup finals and proved a dificult nut to crack. They only lost by a single goal to Portugal and then drew 2-2 with Spain after being in the lead. Morocco didn’t make it out of that group (no one expected them to) but they showed how good they can be. The odds on them beating Namibia in this group opener are 2/5 (1.4) at Betway.
Morocco qualified via Group B to reach these finals. They came top of that group beating Cameroon. Form coming into this tournament hasn’t been too impressie though. They have failed to win any of their last four matches. Three were lost with the other being a draw with Mali. One of those losses was against Argentina but only by a 1-0 scoreline. More worrying was a defeat by Gambia who are ranked 161 in the world. They face Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa in this group and are 6/4 (2.5) at William Hill to finish top after their three games.
There’s a gap of 76 places between these two countries and Namibia will find it hard going in this group. The odds on them winning it are 50/1 (51.0) at SkyBet, so their stay in Egypt may not be a long one. They finished second in Group K to qualify for only their third African Cup of Nations final. Their last time in this tournament was in 2008. Their two previous tournament finals have both seen them go home without winning a game. If you think they can break their duck with a win over Morocco, it’s 11/1 (12.0) at Bet365.
Their qualifying group saw them finish second but with a negative goal difference Only five goals were scored but seven conceded. That was mainly due to a 4-1 loss away to Zambia. It was a win in Mozambique that helped them reach these finals.
Earlier this year they competed in the COSAFA Cup finishing second in their group behind Malawi. They have won three of their last four games but not against the best of opposition. One of their wins was over the Seychelles who are ranked just inside the world’s top 200.
Morocco have won five of their six games against Namibia. They are yet to lose to them and have scored 14 goals with only two conceded. If you think that Morocco can beat Nambia with over 2.5 goals scored, it’s 27/20 (2.35) at Coral on that happening.
Morocco have no injury worries going into this game. They left Ayoub El Kaabi, Abdelkarim Baadi and Amine Harit out of their squad.
Over 2.5 Goals Likely
Four of the last five Namibia internationals have had over 2.5 goals scored in them. Morocco’s last match was a 3-2 loss to Zambia. There are odds of 1/1 (2.0) at Ladbrokes on that stat coming up in this game.
Morocco are ranked a lot higher than their opponents and should be able to get a win in this opening fixture. They are more experienced than Namibia when it comes to tournament experience. A bet on Morocco to win with both teams scoring is 29/10 (3.9) at BetVictor.