As the 2021 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations heats up in Cameroon, Kaizer Chiefs players have shared their thoughts on the tournament and picked their favourites from the 24 nations competing for glory in the Central West African country.
Amakhosi are represented at AFCON 2021 by Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
With Bafana Bafana having not qualified for the 33rd edition of Africa’s biggest showpiece, Kaizer Chiefs captain Bernard Parker believes it is going to be a tough and tight tournament this year, because of Covid-19 and the increased number of participating teams.
“We need to look at the North African and West African teams, especially Egypt and Nigeria,” says Parker.
“Nigeria have players who play in strong leagues in Europe and that’s a big plus for them. It will boil down to team chemistry because some of the players are not used to playing as a team. Egypt are always favourites because they have the right quality. The golden generation they have needs to lift the trophy. I believe they will use the experience to win it,” added Parker, despite Egypt’s opening match hiccup against the Super Eagles.
Parker himself has played in two Afcon tournaments and believes it’s one of the toughest tournaments as it’s very physical.
“I personally support my teammate, Daniel Akpeyi. I think it’s great for Daniel to add this tournament to his profile. Him being there represents not only Nigeria, but us as Kaizer Chiefs,” says Parker.
Amakhosi defender Siphosake Ntiya-Ntiya also believes Nigeria stand a good chance, given the quality of players they have in the team.
“I’ll be watching the tournament with interest because there are some exciting players to look out for and some great tips,” says Ntiya-Ntiya.
Chiefs midfielder Phathutshedzo Nange’s money is on the West African side of Senegal. He believes they have the right quality that can help them all the way.
Anthony Akumu Agay, who is not happy that his home country Kenya are not in the tournament, confidently says Algeria is the team to watch.
“Algeria always do well in the tournament and their experience will count a lot in this year’s tournament,” he says.
“I’m very disappointed that Kenya did not qualify for the tournament because it would have been great to be in Cameroon showcasing our talent. We hope to do better next time and qualify for the next edition of Afcon,” added Agay.
Fellow midfielder, Kearyn Baccus, also believes Algeria or any of the North African countries will lift the trophy, given what he witnessed since he joined Chiefs from Australia.