Africa Cup of Nations: What to look out for on day six




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Mohamed Salah (left) and Egypt are looking to build on their opening-day win over Zimbabwe

Africa Cup of Nations holders Cameroon made a winning start to their title defence on Tuesday, beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in Ismailia.

Andre and Jordan Ayew were both on target for Ghana but the Black Stars had to settle for a 2-2 draw in their Group F opener against Benin.

But what’s on the agenda on day six of the tournament?

BBC Sport looks ahead to Wednesday’s action.

Who’s playing?

The second round of group games gets under way, with hosts Egypt, Uganda and Nigeria all looking to build on opening victories.

The Super Eagles, whose campaign has been disrupted by a row over bonuses, continue their Group B campaign against Guinea in Alexandria at 15:30 BST.

Group A takes centre stage on Wednesday evening as Uganda take on Zimbabwe in Cairo (18:00 BST).

Egypt return to action against DR Congo in the day’s late game (21:00 BST).

Players to watch

Nigeria v Guinea

Former Watford player Odion Ighalo scored the only goal of the game in Nigeria’s win over Burundi on Saturday
Odion Ighalo
National team: Nigeria Position: Striker Club: Shanghai Shenhua Age: 30

Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo scored just four minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute against Burundi on Saturday.

The 30-year-old finished emphatically from Ola Aina’s back-heeled pass to earn Gernot Rohr’s side all three points and stake his claim for a place in the starting line-up against Guinea.

Ighalo, who plays in China for Shanghai Shenhua, scored six goals in as many appearances in qualifying.

Uganda v Zimbabwe

Patrick Kaddu applauds the Uganda fans following Saturday’s 2-0 win against DR Congo
Patrick Kaddu
National team: Uganda Position: Striker Club: KCCA Age: 23

Patrick Kaddu was one of Uganda’s liveliest players in their surprise 2-0 victory over DR Congo.

The forward, who plays for Ugandan outfit Kampala Capital City Authority, opened the scoring with a near-post header and should have added to his tally late in the first half with another header from a similar position.

Sebastien Desabre’s side are set for a sterner test against Zimbabwe, but the Warriors will have to keep a close eye on 23-year-old Kaddu if they are to keep alive their hopes of a place in the knockout stages.

Egypt v DR Congo

Mohamed Elneny made just eight league appearances for Arsenal in 2018-19
Mohamed Elneny
National team: Egypt Position: Midfielder Club: Arsenal Age: 26

Mohamed Elneny was limited to just 17 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal last term, but the defensive midfielder has established himself as a key figure in Javier Aguirre’s Egypt side.

The former Basel midfielder completed 90 minutes in five of their six qualifying games, registering one goal and one assist.

He also gave the Pharaohs the lead in the 2017 Afcon final but was unable to prevent his team from losing 2-1 to Cameroon.

What are the big stories of the day?

Nigeria‘s preparations for the clash with Guinea have been overshadowed by a dispute over bonuses and allowances.

The Super Eagles squad arrived an hour late for training on Tuesday and have not ruled out taking further action ahead of Wednesday’s game in Alexandria, although the Nigeria Football Federation is hopeful of avoiding a strike.

Guinea, meanwhile, could hand Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita a starting berth after the 24-year-old made his first appearance since 1 May in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Madagascar.

Having recorded their first win in the competition for 41 years against DR Congo, Uganda can take a huge step towards the knockout stages with victory on Wednesday.

The last time the Cranes qualified from the group stage in 1978 they progressed all the way to the final, where they lost 2-0 to host nation Ghana. Victory over 2014 semi-finalists Zimbabwe will end the southern African team’s hopes of qualifying from the Group A.

Egypt made a winning start against the Warriors on Friday but the hosts will be looking to improve on their opening-day performance in Cairo.

The Pharaohs dominated for large spells but failed to trouble Zimbabwe goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda on a regular basis. Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was uncharacteristically profligate, missing the target with a number of promising opportunities prior to Mahmoud Trezeguet’s winner.

Aguirre’s charges will expect victory against DR Congo, who slipped to a surprise defeat in their opening Group A match.

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