Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah chasing AFCON glory

PreviewNaby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah chasing AFCON glory

Published 4th January 2022
By Eliot Blakeborough

With the Africa Cup of Nations set to kick off later this week, read our guide to the Liverpool involvement in the tournament.

Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will represent Guinea, Senegal and Egypt respectively in the 33rd edition of the continental competition.

Taking place in Cameroon, this AFCON runs from January 9 to February 6, with 24 teams forming six groups in the initial phase. The sides who claim the first and second spots in each section will qualify for the last 16, along with the four best third-placed finishers.

The opening match will be held at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, as will the final.

Here are the key details regarding Keita, Mane and Salah's participation...

Group B

Naby Keita (Guinea), Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Fixtures to watch out for (kick-off times GMT)

  • Senegal v Zimbabwe (January 10 - 1pm)

  • Guinea v Malawi (January 10 - 4pm)

  • Senegal v Guinea (January 14 - 1pm)

  • Malawi v Senegal (January 18 - 4pm)

  • Zimbabwe v Guinea (January 18 - 4pm)

Two of the Reds' trio at the tournament will face each other in the same group, with Mane's Senegal drawn alongside Keita's Guinea. They will meet directly in the second fixture of their group stage.

History in AFCON

Senegal were beaten in the previous AFCON final in 2019, with Algeria opening the scoring inside two minutes and holding on to a 1-0 result after a VAR review denied Senegal a penalty in the second half.

Guinea, meanwhile, were eliminated in the last 16 that summer, knocked out by the eventual champions 3-0 in Cairo.

Both Senegal and Guinea are chasing their first triumph in the competition. Senegal have been runners-up on two occasions – in 2002 and 2019 – while Guinea's only appearance in the final came in 1976.

Group D

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Fixtures to watch out for

  • Nigeria v Egypt (January 11 - 4pm)

  • Guinea-Bissau v Egypt (January 15 - 7pm)

  • Egypt v Sudan (January 19 - 7pm)

Salah and his compatriots will be looking to secure Egypt an eighth Africa Cup of Nations title.

AFCON history

Hosts of the 2019 edition, Salah's team were knocked out in the round of 16 after a 1-0 defeat against South Africa.

In the 65 years of the tournament, Egypt have been crowned champions on seven different occasions, most recently in 2010 – making them the most successful nation in AFCON history.

Their last trip to the final came in 2017, where they were matched up against a strong Cameroon side and went 1-0 ahead after 22 minutes, Salah with the assist, but eventually lost 2-1 to an 88th-minute winner.

Published 4th January 2022