CAF Soccer Predictions | Picks For 3 International Matches
Daniel Beloumou Olomo/Getty. Pictured: Joao Milson of Angola.
We are less than two years out from the 2026 World Cup in North America, which means World Cup Qualifiers are now under way in South America, Asia and Africa.
With the Africa Cup of Nations just two short months away, this will be a good opportunity for these countries to play high stakes competitive matches before the tournament kicks off in the Ivory Coast.
Without further ado, here are my CAF soccer predictions.
Make sure to check out our latest bet365 promo code to see if you qualify before making your soccer wagers.
CAF Soccer Predictions
This line doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you have any idea the type of run Gambia have been on over the past two years.
Just take a look at their expected goals results going back to the start of AFCON two years ago.
Their last two matches against South Sudan and Congo represent the initial times in two years that they won the expected goals battle in an individual match. One of the reasons they over-performed so drastically is because they are primarily a direct transition team, relying on being efficient with those transitions.
Tom Saintfiet has been at the helm of Gambia since 2018 and he recognized that their best path to success is being a passive low block team, often defending in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 and letting the opponent have the ball and try to hit them on the counter. During the Africa Cup of Nations, they had just two build up attacks, which was the lowest mark in the entire tournament. So, it's safe to say they ae at their best when they are conceding possession and allowing their best player, Musa Barrow, to produce some magic in transitional moments.
That low block defense allows a ton of chances and he has been over-performing for two years outside of their last two matches, where the negative regression they've been due for started to hit. In the 11 matches shown above, they have allowed 10 goals off of 18.01 xG, so this tactical set up defensively is not sustainable.
Burundi do not have much talent and they failed to get out of a three team AFCON Qualifying group with Cameroon and Namibia, but they were actually pretty impressive in their final two matches. Etienne Ndayiragije took over in January of 2023 and switched them to a 3-5-2 direct team, which paid off because in their final two matches against Namibia and Cameroon they put up 3.89 xG and despite losing 3-0, they actually won the xG battle against Cameroon, 1.79 to 1.59.
Burundi also has an absolute game changer in the middle of the pitch and will be the best player on the field in this match: Youssouf Ndayishimiye.
Ndayishimiye is having a breakout season at Nice and is one of the main reasons why they have only conceded four goals so far in Ligue 1. He is basically a center back playing as a defensive midfielder. He has unreal positional awareness and is a fantastic ball stopper when attacks try to come through the middle of the pitch.
With Burundi playing five at the back and Ndayishimiye patrolling the middle of the pitch as well as stopping any potential transition attacks coming through the middle, it's going to be incredibly difficult for Gambia to create chances in this match. Not to mention, their second-best attacker ,Yankuba Minteh, who plays for Feyenoord, is going to miss this match due to a hamstring injury.
I have Burundi projected as a home favorite given their underlying performances under Ndayiragije, so I love the value on the spread of +0.5 at -115.
Pick: Burundi +0.5 (-115 via bet365)
Sign up with the Action FanDuel promo code to get the new user bonus of $150 in bonus bets if your bet wins and a daily profit boost!
|Cape Verde Islands Odds||-106|
|Over / Under|
+130 / -167
The price on Cape Verde is a tad too high here given Angola's success throughout AFCON Qualifying.
Angola finished second in their AFCON qualifying group with a +0.85 xGD and won the xG battle in five of their six matches with the one loss coming on the road to Ghana. Pedro Gonçalves has them playing out of a 4-2-3-1 and playing a good blend of possession and direct football. In their two matches against Ghana they did a fantastic job limiting central progression and forcing them to beat them in wide areas. In the road match they ended up conceding over 2 xG, but 1.5 of those came at the end of a pinball scenario in stoppage time.
This Angolan side isn't completely void of talent. In fact, per transfermarkt.com, they have a high total squad transfer value than Cape Verde Islands. Ivan Cavaleiro, who has spent a number of years in England playing with Wolves and Fulham is regularly playing for Ligue 1 side Lille this season. Zito Luvumbo is a 21-year old striker playing for Cagliari in Serie A and has already scored three of their 12 goals this season.
Cape Verde had a historic performance in the Africa Cup of Nations, drawing with the host nation Cameroon and beating them pretty handily on xG. However, the form recently has been steadily declining. In their last three AFCON qualifiers they have conceded over 2 xG each to Eswatini, Burkina Faso and Togo. Because of that, in their last nine competitive matches, they now have a -2.8 xG differential.
They have been experimenting with some different formations in friendlies against Morocco and Algeria, but they historically have played out of a 3-4-3, trying to utilize their wing backs getting forward to create overloads in wide areas to eventually send in a cross. I found it interesting that they played a 4-2-2-2 formation against Algeria, which is usually only a formation reserved for a team like RB Leipzig and is used to attack transitionally through the center of the pitch.
No matter what formation they use, given the underlying metrics and overall talent level of these two countries being incredibly even, the price on Cape Verde is too high. So, I like the value on Angola +0.5 at -109.
Pick: Angola +0.5 (-109 via bet365)
Barstool has become ESPN BET! Learn more about the new sportsbook and the ESPN BET promo code.
The price on Guinea here is a little cheap considering the talent gap between these two nations.
Guinea have established themselves as a top 15 footballing nation in Africa and their performance in the Africa Cup of Nations was incredibly impressive. They won the xG battle in all four of their matches, including a 0-0 draw with the eventual champions Senegal in the group stage. They won't have former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita available, but they still have a lot of talent in this side playing across Europe. Most notably, they have the hottest striker on the planet: Serhou Guirassy.
The Vfb Stuttgart striker already has 15 goals in just a little over seven matches played with only Harry Kane scoring more goals. His 1.13 xG per minute scoring rate is tops among Europe's top five leagues.
Under manager Kaba Diawara, Guinea play out of a 4-4-2, looking to press the opponent relentlessly when they lose the ball. In the Africa Cup of Nations, Guinea had the fourth-best PPDA at 8.4 and forced 9.8 high turnovers per match, which led to numerous transition opportunities.
Uganda failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and because of that, they are bringing in a new manager in Paul Put, who has a long track record managing all throughout Africa. He will likely have them set up in a 4-2-3-1, but they are going to have to be solid out of possession, which is not something they were great at when they had to face Algeria in AFCON Qualifying, conceding four goals and 3.7 xG over the two meetings.
Per transfermarkt.com, Guinea's total squad transfer value is sitting at $76 million, while Uganda is at just $3.4 million, so Guinea are a significantly better side.
I have Guinea projected at -130, so I love the value on them at +135.