Cameroon AFCON 2023 Preview and Predicted XI: Three-pronged attack could rock the continent

Cameroon are one of Africa's powerhouses in the footballing world, and will be hoping for glory in Ivory Coast as they get set for their 21st appearance at the African Cup of Nations. They will be seen as one of the favourites and a team to avoid, so let's dive into our Cameroon AFCON 2023 preview and predicted XI.

How did Cameroon qualify for AFCON?

Cameroon laboured to the top spot in their qualifying group winning two games but also dropped points in the other half of their matches. Their group was slightly compromised to just three teams due to Kenya not being involved in the qualifying process. So, while Cameroon did indeed qualify, it certainly wasn't in impressive fashion and leaves questions heading into AFCON 2023.

Cameroon players celebrate victory
Photo by Icon sport

Cameroon AFCON 2023 preview

Who will Cameroon play at AFCON 2023?

Cameroon will have been ruing their lack when the draw was made for AFCON 2023 as they've been pitted against Senegal – who are the number one ranked African side according to FIFA – as well as Guinea and Gambia.

Senegal

Senegal head into the 2023 AFCON as red-hot favourites having won last time out on penalties against Egypt, and also managed to reach the final back in 2019, but were beaten 1-0 by Algeria and their fans will be hoping to make it three final appearances in a row.

It's no surprise Senegal have been dominating African football of late when they have players such as Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy who can single-handedly carry them through games if required.

sadio mane for senegal
Sadio Mane will be a major threat in a very difficult group – Photo by Icon sport

Guinea

Guinea will certainly be backing themselves to finish ahead of Cameroon if they can beat or just hold them to a draw when they face off after a dominant qualifying. Kaba Diawara oversaw four wins, one draw and a single defeat as they finished just two points behind Nigeria and has his side clicking and firing on all cylinders heading to Ivory Coast in just a few weeks.

Guinea-Bissau AFCON 2023 Preview
Guinea-Bissau will be looking to cause an upset at AFCON 2023. ©Samuel Shivambu/Sports Inc – Photo by Icon sport

Gambia

Gambia could well be a team to look out for in Ivory Coast as they finished ahead of Congo in the qualifying stages to reach this tournament which will be just their second-ever appearance at an AFCON, and this is because they managed to win three times, conceding just seven goals in six games, while having Mali in their group as well.

Ibou Touray and Muhammed Sanneh of Gambia
Gambia will be playing at just their second AFCON. Photo by Icon sport

How far will Cameroon go?

Cameroon have become a boom or bust nation at recent African Cup of Nations finishing third and also winners in 2017 and 2021, respectively, but either side of those tournaments they failed to advance out of the group stages.

We expect Cameroon to advance out of their group, behind Senegal though, and a run to the semi-finals is certainly plausible for a country who have standout stars throughout their squad, although a loss to Senegal back in October suggests they may not have what it takes to bring him the trophy.

Andre Onana
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Cameroon – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI

Goalkeeper

This pick should be very straightforward, with Andre Onana the most gifted goalkeeper playing for Cameroon right now. Although Onana is reportedly considering staying with Man United instead of going to the Ivory Coast, a break could do him the world of good.

Nimes backup stopper Fabrice Ondoa would be second choice, having completed 90 minutes against Libya in the latest round of 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Defence

While Cameroon have dabbled with both a three and four at the back formation, the latter should be their go-to choice at AFCON 2024 and that will see Darlin Yongwa deployed as a natural right back, which will indeed test him going back towards his own goal.

Oumar Gonzalez will be lining up at the heart of defence having started five of his country's last six games and playing himself into great form. His partner will likely be Harold Moukoudi, who switched allegiances from France back in 2019. Jean-Charles Castelletto will likely be the starting right back, and can also play at centre back if required, so his versatility will be crucial.

Frank Anguissa of Cameroon celebrates
Frank Anguissa could be key to getting Cameroon out of a difficult group. (Photo by Icon sport)

Midfield

Former Premier League ace Frank Anguissa will be one of the more crucial players for Cameroon, especially if they are to go deep in the tournament, with his technical ability being above the average player going to be at AFCON 2023.

Either side of him will be Oliver Ntcham – who only made his debut in 2022 – and Nampalys Mendy, with the latter being given the defensive duties to protect a back four which may be tested.

Attack

Bryan Mbeumo could well end up being a player of the tournament candidate if he carries his Brentford form into AFCON 2023, but he is just one part of a scary Cameroonian attacking front three, on the left will be Karl Toko Ekambi who brings experience and calmness in the final third, as opposed to Mbeumo's devastating speed and fast feet.

The main man for Cameroon is their skipper Vincent Aboubakar. The striker is already a legend in his country and will be in the running for the Golden Boot in Ivory Coast come January as he looks to add to his nine AFCON goals during his career.

Be sure to keep checking out our free betting tips closer to the time of the tournament. It all starts on 12 January.


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Aaron Hindhaugh

Aaron is a multi-skilled sports content writer and media professional. He is a specialist in both Men's and Women's football, along with golf.