AFCON 2023 Group B winners prediction: Ghana to stun Salah and Egypt?

We have predicted the AFCON 2023 Group B winners, and much like Group A, there seems to be a clear divide between the top two and bottom two seeds.

The highest-seeded team in this group (Egypt) are natural favourites to come out on top, as no other team has won the Africa Cup of Nations more times than them (seven), while they also reached the final in the 2021 edition, narrowly losing to Senegal on penalties.

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AFCON 2023 Group B winners prediction & group forecast

Group winners – Egypt

As the most successful nation in the competition, the Egyptians know what it takes to win, and will be desperate to secure a first AFCON title since 2010. They are also the highest-ranked nation in the group in terms of FIFA world rankings (35th), and are spearheaded by world-class superstar Mohamed Salah.

Placed 11th in the 2023 Ballon d'Or rankings, the ‘Egyptian King' has been in formidable form for Liverpool this season, with 12 goals and four assists in 17 games at club level. He has also recorded five goal contributions for Egypt across his last three AFCON qualification matches.

Though Ghana will surely push them all the way, the Pharaohs are the team to beat in this group, and will be hoping to go one better than they did in 2021.

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Runners up – Ghana

Ghana are only ranked 60th in the world rankings, but boast plenty of pedigree in the competition, having won it four times, and reached the semi-finals in six of the last nine tournaments.

The key for Ghana could be keeping captain and star man Thomas Partey fit. The Arsenal midfielder has been ruled out until the new year with injury, and his injury history suggests the Black Stars need to wrap him in cotton wool before AFCON starts.

Aside from Partey, Ghana boast a number of other stars based in the Premier League, including West Ham United midfielder Mohammed Kudus.

Athletic Bilbao's speedy attacker Inaki Williams will also test Egypt's resolve. Having changed allegiances from Spain, he will be desperate to get off the mark for the Ghanaians.

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Third place – Cape Verde

Cape Verde will be competing in their fourth AFCON, having only qualified for their first in 2013. They are growing as a football nation, and reached the knockouts in their debut tournament.

Placed 71st in FIFA's world rankings, the Blue Sharks were the second-highest ranked team in pot three when the draw was made, and so could potentially cause an upset.

They boast players from the UEFA Europa League in Logan Costa (Toulouse), who helped beat Liverpool 3-2 on matchday four, Leandro Andrade (Qarabag) and Joao Paulo (Sheriff), while striker Duk leads the line for Aberdeen in the Europa Conference League, and Rayo Vallecano winger Bebe was once on the books of Manchester United.

Although we do not think Cape Verde will finish in the top two of this group, we predict that they will be one of the four best third-place sides, and so will advance to the knockouts.

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Eliminated – Mozambique

Known as the country that birthed footballing legend Eusebio, Mozambique will be playing in their fifth AFCON. The Mambas secured their return to the tournament with a 95th-minute winner against Benin in qualifying, placing them a very admirable second in their group behind Senegal.

However, it's their first appearance since 2o10, and they are placed 113th in the world rankings. As such, we think Mozambique will fall short at this year's AFCON, but they should put up a decent fight.

The former Portuguese colony sees a few of their stars play their club football in Portugal. Winger Geny Catamo is perhaps the most well-known, having scored once and made one assist in nine Liga Portugal appearances for Sporting CP so far this season.

What the bookmakers say

Group B winner odds

Mozambique’s average price to win Group B reflects near-universal expectations that they will be the fall guys of this AFCON group. And while Egypt’s status as favourites is less clear-cut, Salah’s form of 2023/24 makes him by far the most dangerous player in Group B. Salah is also the projected second-favourite overall to finish as AFCON 2023’s top gun.

Group B Winners – Potential Round of 16 opponents

The Group B winners will face the third-placed team in either Group A, C or D in the last 16, depending on how they rank among the rest. If the group stage draw seeding was to be reflected in the final placings perfectly, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea or Mauritania would lie in wait for the group winners.

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.