Africa hopes stars can shine in Egypt after officials cause shame

There have been four Cup of Nations tournaments in Egypt with the home team winning three while finishing third in the other.

The Pharaohs will rely heavily on serial scorer Salah, whose penalty set up Liverpool to win the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur this month.

Another star who helped Liverpool conquer Europe was Mane, the stand-out performer in a Senegal side aiming to lift the trophy for the first time after finishing 2002 runners-up.

Egypt and Senegal are among the six top seeds with defending champions Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.

Were the finals staged anywhere except Egypt, Morocco would probably be favourites to succeed again 43 years after their lone success.

Their French coach, Herve Renard, is the only one to win the tournament with different countries, guiding no-hopers Zambia to glory in 2012 and repeating the feat with Ivory Coast three years later.  

The Moroccan stars include winger Hakim Ziyech, part of the Ajax side that stunned Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League before a dramatic loss to Tottenham. 

Nigeria will hope for goals from Arsenal attacker Alex Iwobi while teamwork is the mantra of Tunisia, coached by star 1980s France midfielder Alain Giresse.

Cameroon have won three of the last 10 Cup of Nations tournaments and Indomitable Lions legend Roger Milla says “there is no reason why they cannot retain the trophy in Egypt”.

Among the second seeds, Ghana, Algeria and the Ivory Coast could go far while the Democratic Republic of Congo and third seeds South Africa are highly unpredictable.

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