The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations is proving to be an entertaining blend of strong teams, top players, and tasty matchups through January and into early February.
The 33rd edition of the tournament was pushed back from the summer of 2021 and is underway. The tournament is being hosted by Cameroon with a total of 52 games be played across 29 days.
The favorites to win the competition include Africa’s highest-ranked side in Senegal, 20th in the latest FIFA rankings, plus defending champions Algeria, star-studded Egypt, and a Morocco side with plenty of experience. Among the 24 qualified teams are 10 former winners of the event. There are also two debutants in this year’s field with Comoros and The Gambia competing in their first AFCON tournament.
MORE: Top 10 players in AFCON 2022
Below is all the information you need for the competition, including how to watch, a tournament schedule and betting favorites.
How to watch AFCON 2022
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 6
- TV channel: beIN Sports, beIN Sports XTRA
- Spanish-language TV: beIN Sports en Espanol, XTRA en Espanol
- Streaming: fuboTV, beIN Sports Connect and other platforms
- YouTube TV (available only on add’l sports package), Sling TV (available only on add’l sports package for Sling Orange)
The month-long Africa Cup of Nations tournament is available on beIN Sports (English) and beIN Sports en Espanol (Spanish) in the USA and Canada. The broadcaster’s free channel beIN Sports XTRA will also carry several matches.
MORE: Complete AFCON 2022 TV schedule
beIN streams are also available for users of Fanatiz and YouTube TV (sports package) and Sling TV (sports package for Sling Orange). And since beIN XTRA is free, it’s available on a host of other streaming platforms including Roku and Pluto TV.
AFCON 2022 key tournament dates
- Group Stage, Round 1: Sun, Jan. 9 – Wed, Jan. 12
- Group Stage, Round 2: Thurs, Jan. 13 – Sun, Jan. 16
- Group Stage, Round 3: Mon, Jan. 17 – Thurs, Jan. 20
- Round of 16: Sun, Jan. 23 – Wed, Jan. 26
- Quarterfinals: Sat, Jan. 29 – Sun Jan. 30
- Semifinals: Wed, Feb. 2 – Thurs, Feb. 3
- Final & 3rd Place Match: Sun, Feb. 6
There’s a World Cup-like cadence to this tournament with an intense period of 36 group-stage matches to start us off, followed by eight days of knockout matches (14 matches) that take us to the final day on Sunday, Feb. 6. Prior to the championship match there will be a 3rd-place match to serve as an appetizer.
MORE: Updated AFCON group standings and schedules
2022 Africa Cup of Nations betting favorites
Among the 24 teams competing in the month-long tournament, there are obviously favorites and underdogs.
When deciding who to back, looking at recent World Cup qualifying is a great place to see which teams are playing well and which have slipped. Morocco was the only team to win all six games, although its group of Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sudan was less than challenging. AFCON host Cameroon, favorite Senegal, and value pick Mali all finished with five wins out of the six qualifiers, while Egypt and Algeria finished unbeaten with four wins and two draws.
MORE: Betting favorites and breakdowns for AFCON 2022
However, one team bursting with in-form players not mentioned above is Ivory Coast. The Elephants finished second in World Cup qualifying Group D with a 4-1-1 record, falling only to group winners Cameroon on a 1-0 result that eliminated the Ivory Coast and sent Cameroon to the final round of World Cup qualifying.
Still, this is a nation that boasts incredible attacking talent. Sebastien Haller is perhaps the most in-form player in the world, scoring 10 goals in six Champions League group stage matches for Ajax, and he is supported by dribble masters Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe on the wings, plus Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet who was in good form before a recent injury. The back line is battle-tested as well, with Eric Bailly in central defense. Bailly was meant to partner with Wolves defender Willy Boly, but an injury forced his withdrawal from the squad, meaning 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen starter Odilon Kossounou will take over.
Finally, there’s the midfield, anchored by the partnership of Jean-Michel Seri and Franck Kessie (photo above), both of whom are in fine form for their clubs Fulham and AC Milan. Add in Eredivisie standout Ibrahim Sangare having a stellar season for PSV Eindhoven, and there’s a ton to like about this Elephants side. They present a great combination of value and form.
If you’re looking for a pick higher up the list, second favorite Algeria is also a squad bursting with talent, and it very well could repeat as champion.
PICK: Ivory Coast to win (+750)
Here are the top 10 teams projected to win it all prior to the tournament kickoff with odds courtesy of BetMGM:
Favorites for 2022 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer
Form is important for scorers heading to international competition and there are only three players that stand out for their recent club stretch: Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez, and Sebastien Haller.
Salah has been in spectacular club form, scoring or assisting in 15 straight Premier League games, but he appeared to tire in the few matches just before leaving for AFCON. Haller also has been a goalscoring machine this season, with a staggering 10 goals in six Champions League group stage games with Ajax, plus another 12 in Eredivisie play across 17 appearances.
MORE: Premier League players at AFCON 2022
But neither of the two are in especially good goalscoring form with their respective national teams, which matters just as much. Haller has just eight international caps to his name, and a brace in the 2-1 win over Cameroon in September’s World Cup qualifying match represents two of his three international goals. Salah, meanwhile, hasn’t scored for the national team since March when he bagged a brace against lowly Comoros.
It’s Riyad Mahrez who is in special form for both club and country, which arguably sets him apart. Mahrez has come on strong of late at Manchester City, with four goals and three assists in his last four appearances. The 30-year-old has been a central figure for the national team as well, scoring a stunning 11 goals in his last 11 games for Algeria dating back to October of 2020. Mahrez will be primed for a deep run in the tournament with Algeria, providing him maximum games to collect a winning total.
PICK: Riyad Mahrez (+800)
These were the 15 players with the shortest odds to win the top scorer award at AFCON 2022 heading into the tournament, courtesy of BetMGM:
|Sebastien Haller||Ivory Coast||+1200|
|Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting||Cameroon||+2500|