The early shocks in this year’s AFCON

With only a few games so far played, this year’s African Cup of Nations has promised not to be without shocks as underdogs upset traditional heavyweights.

In what is turning into an unpredictable group stage, minnow Namibia produced so far the biggest upset when they beat former champions Tunisia in their opening group E game.

Coming into the game, the Brave Warriors, as Namibia is nicknamed were ranked 115th in the world and were without a victory in any of their previous nine AFCON matches.

On the other side, Tunisia had appeared at the AFCON for a record 16 successive times and reaching the quarter-finals in three of the last four editions and finishing fourth in 2019 but were also 87 places above Namibia in FIFA rankings.

However, the Namibians put their bad record aside to shock Tunisia, thanks to an 88th minute header by  Deon Hotto.

The win was Namibia’s first ever victory at the AFCON finals.

Egypt survives by whisker

In another shocker, seven-time champions Egypt had to wait for a last minute goal to at least earn a point in their AFCON 2024 group B opening game with Mozambique

Whereas the Egyptians opening the score only two minutes after kick off, thanks to Mostafa Muhammed, the Mozambicans restored parity in the 55th minute before taking lead, three minutes later in the 58th minute.

The underdogs frustrated Egypt as they held onto their lead for the entire game as the Pharaohs never quite clicked into gear.

Mohammad Salah saved the day for Egypt when he scored a spot-kick seven minutes into stoppage time to help Egypt avoid their first loss to Mozambique.

Ghana beaten

In another shocker in group B, four-time winners, Ghana were beaten by minnow, Cape Verde in their opening game of the group.

The islanders opened the scoring in the 17th minutes through Jamiro Monteiro before Ghana equalised after the break in the 56th minute with a header from Alexander Djiku.

Cape Verde would later capitalize on a defensive mistake in the 92nd minute for Garry Rodrigues tapping into an empty net to earn the islanders the three points.

In another group opener, Nigeria had to  endure a stuttering start to their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea.

The underdogs took a shock lead after 36 minutes with Iban Salvador finishing off a fine move with a clinical finish but Nigeria restored parity two minutes later, thanks to striker Victor Osimhen’s header at the back post.

Indomitable lions fail to roar

 In another shocker, 2017 champions, Cameroon were held to a one all draw by underdogs Guinea in the opening game in group C.

Guinea took the lead, thanks to a Mohammed Bayo goal only 10 minutes after kick off, before the traditional heavyweight restored parity in the 51st minutes, thanks to Frank Magri.

Whereas the Guineans were later reduced to 10 men after Francois Kamano was given marching orders in the added minutes of the first stanza of the game, the Cameroonians could not capitalize on this numerical advantage to win the game.

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