All you need to know about the African Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017 (AFCON 2017)

The African Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017 (AFCON 2017).

African Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017

Join over 200,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and FREE gifts daily.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations will kick off on the 14th of January and the Final would be on the 5th of February 2017.  Enisports would be covering AFCON 2017 in Gabon and our experts have also researched the all national teams preparation for the tournament and which European league clubs would be most affected by the absence of their African stars.

AFCON 2017 is Africans greatest football export to the football world. Enisports has also revealed which teams will be most affected by analysing appearances made this season, as well as goals and assist contributions.  Our experts also researched the 16 unique names and history for 2017 AFCON teams.


The hosts of the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Gabon 2017
Gabon Welcomes Africa

Gabon are hosting the 2017 African Cup of Nations and they would be welcoming back the cream of African football only five years after it co-hosted the African Nations Cup with Equatorial Guinea.

Gabon were officially awarded the finals by the Confederation of African Football as replacement for Libya. Following the civil war in Libya, they had to withdraw entirely and in stepped Gabon.

Libya were due to host in 2013 but swapped years with South Africa which had been selected to host in 2017.

 Gabon and flag

Politics and sports (AFCON 2017) in Gabon.

Gabon is currently ranked at 108th in Fifa’s world rankings for January.

They are the lowest ranked team in the finals with one of the world’s most coveted strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang. The Borussia Dortmund forward goes into the tournament in scintillating form, having scored 20 goals in 22 games this season for his German club.

Gabon has a population of about 1.8m and it is one of the oil-rich nations in Africa. They has been experiencing minor troubles since incumbent President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of a contested election in August. His victory was followed by deadly clashes on the streets.

President Ali Bongo
President Ali Bongo

He is still at the helm of a country of which he took charge in 2009 after the death of his father, who had been in power since 1967.

Following minor troubles since incumbent President Ali Bongo was declared the winner, national opposition activists have called on citizens to boycott the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017 )as part of their plans to highlight their protests against Bongo’s rule.

The world are expecting to see the crowd reaction to any appearance in a stadium by President Ali Bongo.

How the exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect top European leagues.

 How the exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect the English premier league.

 How the exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect Spanish La Liga.

 How the exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect the Italian Serie A.

 How the exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect the German Bundesliga.


 France Ligue 1.

 france ligue 1 african players 2017

France Ligue 1 will be the hardest hit by the exodus to the African Cup of Nations 2017 which is held in Gabon.

18 of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs will have at least one representative at the tournament. Angers, Lorient and Metz have the biggest gaps to fill and with all three sitting in the bottom five.

Due to the exodus for the African Cup of Nations in Gabon, All three clubs would be repercussions in the relegation battle.

Ligue one’s Angers will be without four players which is more than anyone else across the leagues. The four players have collectively registered 55 Ligue 1 starts and, more devastatingly, scored 12 of their 15 league goals so far.

France Ligue one leaders Nice would have two absentees who have contributed 11 Ligue goals and 1 assist between them. Diminutive Ivorian midfielder Jean Seri has contributed eight of these and the disruption to the supply lines could be keenly felt by the likes of Mario Balotelli further forward.

England premier league

exodus to African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) would affect the English premier league.

The English premier league is the best football league in Europe with top teams like Manchester united, Manchester City, Liverpool FC, Arsenal, and Chelsea.  The English premier league is the next most affected league in Europe.

England is second worst hit by AFCON 2017 out of all nations, with absentees accounting for 254 starts, 27 goals and 26 assists. France has the most, with 359 starts, 44 goals and 30 assists between African players.

Leicester who is the reigning champions will experience a further setback in their poor title defence. The Foxes’ three main absentees have started 44 games and have also got a contribution of 15 Premier League goals so far including nine goals and six assists so avoiding relegation is likely to remain the most pressing objective for Claudio Ranieri.

Slimani and Mahrez have been involved in 13 Premier League goals for Leicester between them.

Liverpool may only be losing Sadio Mane but he has almost matched the output of the three Leicester absentees by himself: he’s the Reds’ top scorer with nine goals and also has four assists to his name.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is the biggest loss of all players in England, with 19 starts, nine league goals and four assists to his name. Wilfried Zaha of Palace is the second most important player with 18 starts, four goals and six assists.

Sunderland would also be affected with 35 appearances made by their African players.


Belgium first Division A.

Sofiane Hanni

The Belgian first Division A would also be affected by the exodus to AFCON 2017.  Also the exodus will definitely affect the title race, with Anderlecht’s three absentees having registered 51 starts between them. The loss of Algeria’s Sofiane Hanni robs them of the services of a man who has been an ever-present this season with six goals and six assists to his name already.

Their chances of catching current leaders Club Brugge who have no representatives in Gabon will be far slimmer as a result.

Italy Serie A.

 france ligue 1 players in African Cup  2017

In Serie A, third-placed Napoli are by far the most affected the exodus to AFCON 2017, losing the services of two regular defensive fixtures in Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaby, with 30 starts, three assists and a goal between them so far, so their 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions may not last much longer.

Fellow title contenders Roma could also stumble without the presence of Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, who has thrived in Serie A after leaving Chelsea with eight goals and four assists this season.


Germany Bundesliga.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Few German-based players are part of the exodus to AFCON 2017 in Gabon. However, the most prominent absence will be keenly felt. Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already has 16 goals and an assist in just 15 Bundesliga starts so far in a squad where nobody else has netted more than four times, so climbing from their current sixth position without him may be a big ask.

Also, Schalke are the only team who will have to do without two first-team regulars: former Premier League pair Nabil Bentaleb and Baba Rahman.

 Spain La Liga.

Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez

Spain will feel the least exodus to AFCON 2017, with only 56 starts made by absentees, seven goals and two assists.

The Spanish La Liga has only five players travelling to the AFCON 2017 and they have racked up a double digit number of appearances. The most significant loss may be Granada’s Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, who has bedded in well in his first La Liga season.

The Moroccan is the relegation battlers’ second highest scorer despite being a midfielder so they are unlikely to have exited the bottom three by the time he returns.

The official fixture and schedule for the African Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017 (AFCON 2017).

Scores & Schedule


Gabon, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau

Jan 14: Gabon vs Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso vs Cameroon

Jan 18: Gabon vs Burkina Faso, Cameroon vs Guniea-Bissau

Jan 22: Cameroon vs Gabon, Gunieau-Bissau vs Burkina Faso.


Group B OF THE AFCON 2017:

Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Zimbabwe

Jan 15: Algeria vs Zimbabwe, Tunisia vs Senegal

Jan 19: Algeria vs Tunisia, Senegal vs Zimbabwe

Jan 23: Senegal vs Algeria, Zimbabwe vs Tunisia


Group C OF THE AFCON 2017:

Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco, Togo

Jan 16: Ivory Coast vs Togo, DR Congo vs Morocco

Jan 20: Ivory Coast vs DR Congo, Morocco vs Togo

Jan 24: Morocco vs Ivory Coast, Togo vs DR Congo


Group D OF THE AFCON 2017:

Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Uganda

Jan 17: Ghana vs Uganda, Mali vs Egypt

Jan 21: Ghana vs Mali, Egypt vs Uganda

Jan 25: Egypt vs Ghana, Uganda vs Mali


Quarter-finals: January 28, 29.

Semi-finals: February 1, 2.

Third place play-off: February 4

Final: February 5.



GROUP A Teams of the African Cup of Nations 2017


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gabon

They are the host of the African Cup of Nations. however, due to political tension and public dismay we hope the call by the National opposition activists for citizens to boycott does not affect the support for the national team and tournament.

Gabon were the tournament host just five years ago and got to the quarter-finals the last time with great support.

The host have great football fans, a good goalkeeper, the veteran Didier Ovono, but their strength is attacking, with the Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina helping to supply the China-based forward Malick Evouna and, of course, the Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will have to excel for Gabon to get as far as they did five years go.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) is the Key player. He was linked to Shanghai SIPG  for €150m which Dortmund dismissed.

The national team’s leadership has changed much more frequently and the Panthers may or may not go into this tournament under the stewardship of the Spaniard José Luis Camacho.

José Luis Camacho who is the current manager of the national team was appointed only last month but has already been threatened with dismissal after complaining about the composition of his backroom staff.



Zezinho Guinea-Bissau

This is the first time they have reached the finals and it was a momentous achievement for the team from this small country.

Guinea-Bissau topped their qualifying group which had Congo, Kenya and the 2012 champions Zambia.  The final squad for the tournament are entirely Europe-based, although several of the players do not have clubs.

They goal in the tournament is advancing to the knockout stages, given Guinea Bissau’s inadequate preparations.

The team have not played any friendlies since qualification and the manager, Baciro Candé, said after qualification that he had convinced several Europe-based players of Bissau-Guinean extraction to take part in the tournament.  However, most of them, other than full-back Tomas Dabo, had second thoughts and rejected the offer in light of the ramshackle build-up.  Also, due to injuries some key players have pulled out of the qualifying campaign. The most know is the striker Cicero Semedo.

Majority play in Portugal and the manager said, “they have been inspired by that country’s triumph at Euro 2016. They have nobody like Cristiano Ronaldo but Zezinho, a former Sporting Lisbon midfielder who now plays in Greece, does take a mean free-kick. Key player Zezinho (Levadiakos)”.


Burkina Faso

Bertrand Traoré

Burkina Faso progressed to this tournament following a goal nine minutes into stoppage time against Botswana having missed out on qualification for the last World Cup by a single goal.

Manager Paulo Duarte is the current manager and following two previous appearances with them in the African Nations cup, he failed to guide Burkina get beyond the group stage.

Burkina Faso are hoping to take advantage of ‘depleted’ Cameroon squad.

It is his second stint in charge of the team.and they got to the final the year after he left the first time which was in 2013. However, many of the players who featured in that campaign remain in the squad. The players are Jonathan Pitroipa and Aristide Bancé can still sparkle as they did four years ago remains to be seen. If they do, and if Bertrand Traoré flourishes, then Burkinabe’s flair, allied to their power and organisation, could take them to the latter stages.

Burkina Faso Key player in the tournament is Bertrand Traoré (Chelsea).



Vincent Aboubakar

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Black Stars of Ghana had always been the pillar of the African nations cup.  However, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon seems very unlikely to go far in a tournament that they reached by beating minnows and drawing twice with South Africa. Also,the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon lack quality, especially creativity, even if they do have dangerous full-backs and wide players and Vincent Aboubakar is a fine striker.

Seven Cameroon players have resisted call-ups including Liverpool’s Joël Matip and Schalke’s Eric Choupo-Moting.

Cameroon Key player in the tournament is Vincent Aboubakar (Besiktas).


GROUP B of the African Cup of Nations 2017


Riyad Mahrez

They are one of the tournament shining stars and  expectation weighs heavily on a talented Algerian side.

The Algerian team flopped two years ago, and are in very poor form going into this tournament, bottom of a tough World Cup qualifying group.

In October, they appointed George Leekens as the third manager in a year for the National team. George Leekens has also hinted at using a 3-5-2 formation in an effort to bolster the weakest part of the team (central defence), give more attacking freedom to tricksters such as Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi and deploy a pair of strikers with fine scoring records for their country, Islam Slimani and El Arabi Soudani.

If the team find their groove and hold their nerve, their class could enable them to emerge from a difficult group that will feature a North African derby with Tunisia and a fascinating duel with Senegal, whom they could conceivably meet again in the final.

Algeria’s Key player is Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)



Sadio Mané

Senegal are hoping to cruise through the group stages following an easy qualification group for this tournament. The national team are currently labouring in World Cup qualification following their defeat to South Africa which was blamed on ludicrous refereeing.

The manager is Aliou Cissé who is under pressure from the Senegalese fans. The fans currently have doubts about his ability to get the best out of the squad.

The national team have a strong defence built around Kalidou Koulibaly and Kara Mbodji, Cissé preaches fluid attacking, with forwards such as Sadio Mané and Keita Baldé Diao revelling on the platform given by a three-man central midfield consisting of Cheikhou Kouyaté and Idrissa Gueye (but also, usually, of Mohamed Diamé, seemingly a favourite of Cissé despite a series of wan displays). Cissé recently recalled the Fenerbahce striker Moussa Sow, which may be an indication that his faith in the erratic Moussa Konaté is fading. With Mame Biram Diouf and Famara Diedhiou also among the attacking options, Senegal have the firepower to do damage to anyone. But they also have a history of choking.

Senegal’s Key player in the torunerment is Sadio Mané (Liverpool)



Aymen Abdennour

Henryk Kasperczak  is the manager for the seventh time who has made them a very competent and well organised team. The Carthage Eagles have the ability to make life difficult for the group favourites.

We are looking forward to the group stage clash between Tunisia

And Algeria.  Also, Algeria are particularly aware of that, having been beaten by their neighbours in the 2013 group stage.

Youssef Msakni is a star and the scorer of a wonderful winning goal that day. He is in line to make his first appearance at the tournament since then, having being recalled by Kasperczak in the hope that he can recapture the magic that briefly made him one of the most exciting talents in Africa before his career stuttered because of injury and a lucrative move to Qatar. If Msakni provides regular ingenuity, then a technically sound side, with a defence marshalled by the excellent Aymen Abdennour, could spring surprises.

Tunisia’s Key player is Aymen Abdennour (Valencia)



Khama Billiat

Zimbabwe preparations have been hampered by rotten administration and rows over payment, and they even incurred a fine for submitting their squad late. This is their first appearance in the finals since 2006 and we prediction is that it is unlikely to last long.

The Warriors’ financial hardship and Callisto Pasuwa’s astute management helped breed powerful team spirit between players during qualification and they do not seem the sort of side to go into any match with an inferiority complex

The Warriors’ midfield features Vitesse Arnhem’s Marvelous Nakamba and the Kaizer Chiefs enforcer Willard Katsande. They have a useful attack thanks to Knowledge Musona and the savvy predator Khama Billiat.

Zimbabwe’s Key player in the Tournament is Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns).


GROUP C of the African Cup of Nations 2017.

Ivory Coast

Wilfried Zaha

 Ivory Coast is the current holders of the African Cup. They made hard work of qualifying and Ivory Coast won only one of four matches in a surprisingly closely contested group.

We hope they have gain momentum in the tournament and could mount a strong defence of their title if a couple of recent additions to their squad fulfil the hopes invested in them.

The fans legitimate heir to Didier Drogba  is called Jonathan Kodjia. He has made such as an encouraging start to his international career while Wilfried Zaha’s decision to join the Elephants could compensate for the injury to Gervinho.

Doubts persist about the team’s midfield creativity since the retirement of Yaya Touré but they may not need quite as much as others, since they have menace out wide and one of the best defences in the tournament, albeit in front of a goalkeeper of dubious reliability.

Ivory Coast’s Key player in the tournament is  Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa).




Mehdi Benatia

In this tournament, the Atlas Lions start their quest to become African champions for the first time since 1976 has been undermined by a slew of injuries to important players, including the striker Oussama Tannane, the midfielders Nordin Amrabat and Sofiane Boufal and the nifty creator Younès Belhanda.

Morocco is yet to find real consistency under the new manager Hervé Renard, the Frenchman who has won the tournament with Zambia and Ivory Coast. Morocco’s target is the quart final  of the African Nations Cup.

The Atlas Lions will still have a degree of ingenuity in front of a Mehdi Benatia-led defence, with Mbark Boussoufa, in particular, capable of creating chances. But they will not be as creative as they would have been with a fully fit squad so will have to achieve a high chance conversion rate if they are to advance. When Morocco met Ivory Coast in World Cup qualification in November the countries fought out a 0-0 draw and this month’s battle between the pair, and with DR Congo, promises to be similarly fierce.

Morocco’s Key player in the tournament is Mehdi Benatia (Bayern Munich).


DR Congo

Cédric Bakambu

DR Congo’s national team manager, Florent Ibengé has put together some skilful players from across many European and domestic clubs, including the fine left-back Joyce Lomalisa of AS Vita, the Congolese side that Ibengé runs in addition to his national team duties.

The national team manager was in charge when DR Congo finished third in the African nations cup two years ago. Also several of the current squad, including Lomalisa, played under him last year when the country triumphed at the African Nations Championship, the continental tournament for home-based players. Their chances of following that up by winning the continent’s most prestigious competition have been reduced by the loss of Yannick Bolasie but the Leopards should still prove formidable contenders, especially if Neeskens Kebano, the dinky schemer signed by Fulham last summer, and the thrilling Villarreal forward Cédric Bakambu are on song.

He has made his debut for DR Congo last year and could now win a senior title with a side spearheaded by Dieumerci Mbokani.

DR Congo’s Key player in the tournament is  Cédric Bakambu (Villarreal).


GROUP D of the African Cup of Nations 2017. 


Emmanuel Adebayor

Togo qualified for the tournament as one of the best runners-up from the qualifying stage

Manger, Claude LeRoy will also set a tournament record by managing a team in the finals for a ninth time.

The Frenchman is unlikely to mark that milestone by guiding the Sparrowhawks into the knockout stages.

The manager has been unable to reinforce his Sparrowhawks squad since qualification and plans to build the side around players who are past their best, including two who are currently without clubs, captain Emmanuel Adebayor and goalkeeper Kossi Agassa. Togo will compete ruggedly – especially midfielder Alaixys Romao – and Floyd Ayité will carry a threat from wide, but LeRoy’s side will probably be outclassed.

Togo’s Key player is Emmanuel Adebayor (unattached).



Asamoah Gyan

The Black stars of Ghana are favourites but their recent form suggests they will not make it that far this time unless they sharpen their attack and creativity in the tournament.

Managers Avram Grant’s squad includes 16 of the 23 players who reached the final two years ago.They would need Christian Atsu and André Ayew to recapture the form of two years ago.

The manager also thinks that Uganda is the greatest threat in Group D.

Also, Asamoah Gyan is the current hitman and they are still over-reliant on him which is why they often fail to translate territorial dominance into wins.

The black stars were beaten 2-0 by Egypt in the World Cup qualifying campaign in November despite enjoying the majority of possession in Alexandria and there is a risk of them suffering a similar experience against the Pharaohs in Gabon. Uganda are also in that World Cup group and Ghana have failed to score against them, too, drawing 0-0 at home in October following a glum performance. Concerns about defence have recently led Grant to deploy Leicester City midfielder Daniel Amartey at centre-back, where the 22-year-old has done well, but only by rekindling Ghana as a force going forward can Grant meet the Black Stars’ ambitions and save his job.

Ghana’s Key player is Asamoah Gyan (al-Ahli Dubai).



Adama Traoré

Mali has consistently qualified from their group, although that pattern was smudged two years ago when they were eliminated by the drawing of lots.

The manger is Alain Giresse who is back in charge for a second spell after leading them to third place in 2012. He has a solid squad with a couple of snazzy midfielders, especially Adama Traoré and Sambou Yatabaré. With their power, pace and cohesion they could jolt any opponent but risk being undermined by defensive vulnerability and a fallible goalkeeper.

Mali’s Key player in the tournament is Adama Traoré (Monaco).



Denis Onyango

Uganda is back to the African Nations cup  38 years after their last appearance. However, the  threat up front is 19-year-old Belgium-based forward Farouk Miya a player to watch.

Uganda qualified thanks mainly to mighty spirit, disciplined defending and the heroics of goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who has repeatedly excelled for his country while also helping his club, Mamelodi Sundowns, to win the Africa Champions League in October.

Isaac Isinde is one member of Uganda’s well organised rearguard who will have an extra incentive to do well at this tournament, as he is open to employment offers after the expiry of his contract with the Ethiopian club St George SC.

The other players in the squad picked by Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic ply their trade with clubs all over the world from USA and Iceland to Lebanon, Vietnam and Kenya – but when they come together they form a sturdy unit, as Ghana have already found to their cost in the World Cup qualifiers.

Uganda’s Key player is Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns).



Mohamed Salah

Egypt has missed the last three editions amid political upheaval.

in 2010, The Pharaohs were crowned kings for a record third time in a row but they return to the tournament aiming to resume where they left.

The latest Egyptian squad includes four veterans from that period – Ahmed Elmohamady, Mohamed Abdelshafi, Ahmed Fathi and the goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who, at 43, is in line to become the oldest player in Nations Cup history. But this solid, technically deft side revolves around far younger talents such as Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, Stoke City’s sparkling winger Ramadan Sobhi, Belgium-based forward Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and, above all, Mohamed Salah. Egypt eliminated Nigeria during qualification for this tournament and demonstrated their counter-attacking prowess to beat Ghana in a World Cup qualifier in November. They will be difficult to beat in Gabon, especially if Salah is on song.

Egypt’s Key player is Mohamed Salah (Roma).

Key Players to watch at the African Cup of Nations 2017.

 African Cup of Nations 2017 in Gabon (AFCON 2017) Players

In the tournament, all eyes will be on players like the world class players hitman Aubameyang, Africa’s most expensive player Sadio Mane and also on reigning BBC African Footballer of the Year and Caf African Footballer of the year Riyad Mahrez .

Aubameyang will be a key figure for the host Gabon however, he missed a penalty when they lost to Mali when they last hosted.

Mahrez will be a key figure in an Algeria team and have recently had been ranked the best team in Africa.

Mane is currently African most expensive player and he leads the line for Senegal. The Teranga Lions have never won the event but Mane could be the key to changing that statistic.

Winger Zaha and Eric Bailly will be a key figure for Ivory coast. Zaha has only just switched international allegiance from England and started his career with the Elephants in sensational style by scoring on his second appearance for the team in a friendly against Uganda earlier this week. Also Zaha said, “I don’t regret swapping England for Ivory Coast.

Ghanaian Andre Ayew who has been linked to china has had an average season with West Ham but hopes to fine form with the black stars.

Mohamed Salah once labelled the African Messi, has been outstanding since his switch from Chelsea to Italian giants Roma. He has recently recovered from injury and would hope to find his best form in the tournament.


Leave a Reply