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Michael Taylor 12th Jan 2010 - 21:19

Eto'o and his Lions should make a roaring start

Samuel Eto'o will be looking to make headlines on Wednesday as his Cameroon side launch their Africa Cup of Nations bid, but will it go to plan in the first round of Group D qualifying for the Lions Indomptables?

15:45 Cameroon v Gabon - live on British Eurosport

Inter Milan man Eto'o is Cameroon's crowd favourite but he's not the only star of their World Cup bound squad.

Gifted players such as Arsenal's Alexandre Song, Lyon's Jean Makoun plus the experienced duo of Geremi and Rigobert Song provide the backbone to a brilliantly athletic and talented squad.

And with Ex-Rangers manager Paul Le Guen casting his gaze over things, expectations surrounding the West African nation have never been higher- so much so they're genuinely being considered dark horses to land the Jules Rimet in the summer.

They kick off their Cup of Nations bid against lowly Gabon, a team ranked 63 places behind them in the Fifa rankings and one that hasn't beaten them since 1989, and most are anticipating they'll be waiting a while longer for another victory.

It's little wonder La Guen's side go into the game as short 4/9 favourites but, forgetting all the strange results we've already had in Angola, it really should be a banker.

The first thing you have to figure is that, as previously mentioned, Cameroon have a wealth of players that Gabon simply can't compete with.

Where the favourites have world renowned talent, Gabon can only claim one Premier Leaguer in Hull City striker Daniel Cousin, while top scorer, Fabrice Do Marcolino, can be found playing for French Ligue 2 minnows Laval.

If that isn't enough of a worry for Coach Alain Giresse then results in the recent World Cup qualifying campaign certainly will be.

In the quest for South Africa 2010 Gabon's journey was cut short thanks in main part to their opponents here as Samuel Eto'o did what he does best by scoring two in the two games between the sides.

In the end Cameroon completed a double and finished the group four points of their nearest rivals which happened to be Gabon. Revenge better not be on their mind or they could find themselves in for a hiding to nothing.

Either way, with the experience, strength, skill and talent at Paul La Guen's disposal you have to believe there's more than a slight chance of Cameroon running riot with 3-0 looking value at 7/1.

As for Samuel Eto'o, he's a short 7/2 first goalscorer but, against an average side, the 20/1 about him netting a hat-trick looks to be a great shot.

18:30 Zambia v Tunisia - live on British Eurosport

With Cameroon clear favourites to qualify as Group D winners it falls on Tunisia to establish themselves as the most likely runners-up.

They missed out on World Cup qualification thanks to a disastrous trip to Mozambique in the final group game and they'll be eager to avoid any more embarrassing slip-ups when they meet some of the less developed football nations in this tournament.

And their first group game against Zambia represents exactly the sort of match that Faouzi Benzarti's men cannot afford to take lightly.

You probably won't recognise many of the names in the Chipolopolo's ranks but they still have the potential to be a pain for everybody throughout this year's tournament.

Former Portsmouth man Collins Mbesuma lines up alongside James Chamanaga to form an explosive forward line while defensive stalwart Joseph Musonda will be relied on to bring stability to an extremely young defence.

If Kennedy Mweene can produce the club form that his made an indispensible keeper for his club side Free State Stars then Zambia may find themselves in with a chance in every game.

Tunisia should win the tie, I just think it'll be closer Les Aigles de Carthage's odds on match price (10/11) would suggest.

Both sides have goals in them making the 5/4 about more than 2.5 total match goals look a great bet while Tunisia to win the game 3-2 is the best value correct score market at 33/1.




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