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Michael Taylor 30th Dec 2009 - 16:20

Egypt’s World Cup absence could inspire another repeat in Angola

A disastrous play-off loss against Algeria ensured North African heavyweights Egypt won't be making their presence felt in this summer's World Cup, however don't rule them out from making a big impression in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations'.

Not for the last time in 2010 all eyes will be focused on southern Africa in January as we attempt to ascertain just how serious the World Cup's host continent is about getting a an African name on the greatest prize in football.

With their wealth of European based talent, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have been highlighted as the most likely challengers in South Africa but, as they've proven six times since 1957, in Angola the team to beat is Egypt.

Hassan Shehata's men are on a mission as well, or at least they should be after their now infamous two legged affair against Algeria.

It seems the gloried supremo is in no mood for distractions either if his dropping of controversial forward Mido from his squad is anything to go by.

The talismanic ex-Tottenham, Middlesbrough and Wigan man on occasion lit up the Premier League with some clinical finishing, the problem was he became even more famous for his strops.

Shehata knows better than anyone about his temperament as well following an all too public dispute that threatened their chances at the 2006 edition - one they eventually went on to win.

The boss will be hoping the end result will be a more united front, saying that he will need Borussia Dortmund star Mohammed Zidan to have the tournament of his life if they are to have a spark up front.

Zidan will be asked to provide the ammunition for Al-Ahly forward Emad Moteab and, if they do peak as a partnership, then you can be sure Egypt will be in with a shot, especially if you consider their ultra solid defence.

Al Ahly is the main supplier and experience is the theme with captain Ahmed Hassan, goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary and defensive stalwarts Abdel Zaher El-Sakka and Wael Gomaa boasting an amazing 475 caps between them.

You don't need telling that these boys have played a whole heap of football together and achieved incredible things for the Pharaohs - they almost deserve one final piece of silverware to cap of glittering careers.

On paper the Egyptians may not look the strongest but their blend of strength and familiarity with one another has proved a deadly combination and should do once again.

They definitely represent the best value to win the tournament at 8/1, which I have to say seems a crazy price given they have an unbeaten Cup of Nations record dating back to 2004.

As for Africa's World Cup representatives I'll be keeping an especially close watch on Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast.

The Elephants have a real claim to being one of the betting front runners when it comes to the summer but any World Cup hopes could come down to how well they perform in Angola.

Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has the perfect opportunity to get his side gelled and prepared for the big stage so it's essential that all the planning and hype comes to fruition and an early exit is avoided.

Their Premier League connections run stronger than just Drogba with a line-up that also includes Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Salomon Kalou while Didier Zokora, Arouna Kone and Barcelona giant Yaya Toure can all be called on.

It's little wonder they're so highly rated and shortly priced at 15/8 to land a Cup of Nations' victory, the one concern being their recent failures in this tournament.

The 2008 edition was a prime example as they strolled through to the semi finals winning every game and scoring 13 goals in the process only to be dismantled by Egypt 4-1.

They have the players required to be champions it really is a question of whether they can cut out the odd error-strewn game that has plagued them over the past few years.

Make sure you stay with William Hill for the most complete betting coverage on the internet. Ante-post markets such as outright betting and group betting are now available while a full range of match markets and in-play markets will be available for every game of the tournament.

Group A

Price to win Group
Price to win tournament
6/4 12/1
7/4 16/1
Mali 11/4 33/1
Malawi 14/1 125/1

Group B

Price to win Group
Price to win tournament
Ivory Coast
4/6 15/8
6/4 5/1
Burkina Faso
16/1 66/1
Togo 20/1 66/1

Group C

Price to win Group
Price to win tournament
5/4 8/1
Benin 14/1 100/1
Mozambique 16/1 200/1

Group D

Price to win Group
Price to win tournament
8/15 5/1
3/1 16/1
Gabon 6/1 50/1
Zambia 16/1 200/1


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