It all goes up a gear at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Tuesday, with the reigning champions in afternoon action ahead of a barnstorming clash in Garoua.
Kings of the continent Algeria kick off the day’s action against minnows Sierra Leone in Douala, ahead of an almighty clash between Nigeria and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt at the Stade Omnisport de Garoua.
Sudan go up against Guinea-Bissau at the same venue a little later in the evening, as the competition takes flight.
*All kick off times are in South African Standard Time.
Group E: Algeria vs Sierra Leone – 15.00
Algeria are out to kickstart their Africa Cup of Nations defence at the Stade Omnisport de Douala, as they face a Sierra Leone side making their first tournament appearance since 1996.
The Fennec Foxes outwitted Senegal in Cairo back in 2019 to win their second Afcon title, almost two decades after their first.
Riyad Mahrez is once again at the forefront of their attack, with the North Africans having sailed unbeaten through their qualifying pool.
Their opponents have all the fairytale trapping, having somehow qualified for their first Afcon this century despite recording just seven points from their six matches.
Benin were the unlucky country knocked out by the Leone Stars, who start the tournament ranked outside the world’s top 100 football nations in the Fifa standings.
Kick off: 15:00.
Group D: Nigeria vs Egypt
Nigeria and Egypt collide on Tuesday evening for a mouthwatering Group D opener at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The Pharaohs have had over two years to smart over their Round of 16 exit to unfancied South Africa on home soil and in front of a packed crowd in Cairo.
But in Mohamed Salah they have one of the world’s hottest footballers, not to mention seven Afcon titles already in their back pocket.
The last of those came in 2010, with all eyes on the Liverpool star and Co as they open up against the Super Eagles.
Odion Ighalo fired the three-time champions to third place at that event, having been knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual winners Algeria.
The striker is one of several barred from playing in this year’s edition by his club, threatening to blight Africa’s flagship competition.
But with the likes of Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi present and correct, don’t bet against Augustine Eguavoen’s men from mounting a charge for a first crown since 2013.
Kick off: 18:00.
Group D: Sudan vs Guinea-Bissau
The day three action comes to a close at the Africa Cup of Nations with a tie between Guinea-Bissau and Sudan in Garoua.
Following on from the crunch clash between Nigeria and Egypt at the same stadium, it’s an opportunity for one of the underdogs to put a potentially crucial early three points on the board in Group D.
Both finished as runners-up in their qualifying pools, with Djurtus never having passed the group stage proper and the Falcons of Jediane last having tasted continental success in 1970.
Kick off: 21:00.
Africa Cup of Nations predictions for 11 January
Prediction methodology explained:?The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team?s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Other odds added here are taken from soccerstats247’s algorithm.