AFCON 2023 Group C winners prediction: Senegal to edge out Cameroon

Here is our early AFCON 2023 Group C winners prediction. Current AFCON holders Senegal will compete in Group C alongside some tough opponents. Five-time champions Cameroon are likely to provide the Lions of Teranga with a particularly tough test. In addition, Guinea and Gambia showed their strength during impressive qualification campaigns.

Read on to see why this will be the final finishing order in Group C…

Idrissa Gueye of Senegal
(Photo by Septianjar Muharam/Xinhua) – Photo by Icon sport

AFCON 2023 Group C winners prediction & group forecast

Group winners – Senegal

Senegal have been one of the strongest teams in recent AFCON tournaments. In 2019, the Lions of Teranga finished as runners-up before going one step further in 2021 and sealing their first-ever AFCON title. During their 2021 title win, Senegal went unbeaten in seven matches and conceded just two goals.

Moreover, led by long-term coach Aliou Cissé who has been in charge since 2015, Senegal went unbeaten in qualifying, winning four of their six matches. Cissé has consistently proven he can get the best from his talented squad. Under his stewardship, Senegal are unbeaten in 77 of 89 matches.

The West African nation also has one of the most experienced and talented squads in the AFCON. In particular, the nation’s leading scorer Sadio Mané is likely to play a central role in the upcoming AFCON. The Al-Nassr forward notched three goals in the 2021 AFCON and was named in the team of the tournament.

Mané will get plenty of support from dynamic midfielder Idrissa Gueye, captain Kalidou Koulibaly and creative forward Ismaïla Sarr. Due to their strength in depth and impressive recent record at the AFCON, we are tipping Senegal to progress as Group C winners.

Karl Ekambi of Cameroon
Credit: David Klein / Sportimage – Photo by Icon sport

Runners up – Cameroon

Cameroon are one of the most decorated teams in AFCON history with five previous titles. However, the Indomitable Lions have fallen short in the last two AFCON finals after a semi-final finish in 2021 and a last-16 run in 2019.

Cameroon has plenty of star quality through the likes of Vincent Aboubakar, Karl Toko Ekambi and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Yet, recent form suggests the Indomitable Lions might be on the decline following one win in their last seven internationals.

Despite some concerns about an ageing squad and a fall to 43rd in the FIFA rankings, Rigobert Song’s side should have to get out of Group C as runners-up to Senegal.

Serhou Guirassy scores vs Brazil
(Photo by Felipe Mondino/LiveMedia/LiveMedia/Sipa USA) – Photo by Icon sport

Third Place – Guinea

Guinea enjoyed a strong qualification campaign with three wins and a draw in Group D. Although, a pair of defeats to Egypt showed that the National Elephants may lack the necessary quality to mix it with Senegal and Cameroon.

In addition, Guinea’s ranking of 80th in the FIFA rankings suggests they will be outsiders to progress to the knockout rounds this time around. Kaba Diawara’s side have struggled for wins in recent AFCON finals.

In their last four appearances, Guinea have won just three of 15 matches.

Ibou Touray and Muhammed Sanneh of Gambia
Photo by Icon sport

Eliminated – Gambia

Gambia will participate in their second AFCON finals ever in 2023. The Western African nation will look to cause an upset again after reaching the round of 16 in 2021. The Scorpions also took on some big opponents last time out, beating Tunisia 1-0 and holding Mali to a 0-0 draw.

In qualifying, the Scorpions performed admirably with three wins from six matches and just two defeats. But a favourable draw alongside Congo and South Sudan gave Tom Saintfiet’s side a solid chance of reaching the finals

Gambia will enter the 2023 competition as the second lowest-ranked nation, sitting 117th in the current FIFA rankings. Therefore, they will have to be at their absolute best to take on some top-quality Group C opponents.

What the bookmakers say

Once again, it’s a perfect match between our expectations and those of the bookmakers. Most of the squad that won the cup at AFCON 2021 remains in-situ and as potent as ever. No less than six Premier League players were included in the 27-man squad when it was announced on 29 December.

Group C winner odds

Group C Winners – Potential Round of 16 opponents

Should Senegal finish top of AFCON Group C, they could encounter Equatorial Guinea, expected Group B bronze medallists Cape Verde or Zambia in the round of 16, if the seedings for the group stage draw translate into the final group placings.

With each of those nations ranked 74th or lower by FIFA, the Lions of Teranga will hope to notch the top spot in search of a favourable knockout round draw.

Alex is a freelance sports writer with experience writing digital news, blogs, features, exlcusive interviews and SEO. He has a keen interest and knowledge of UK and European football, ATP and WTA tennis, cricket and boxing.