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AFCON: Cameroon hoping home advantage makes the difference

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is already a week old, and it won't be long before the trophy is up for grabs in Cameroon.

Twenty-four teams are vying for glory in Central Africa, and as hosts, Cameroon are hoping to reward their passionate fans who are doing what they can to steer them to glory.

Senegal, who finished as runners-up in 2019, went into the tournament as the ante-post favourites, and with the likes of Edouard Mendy and Sadio Mane in their ranks, it is easy to see why.

Defending champions Algeria can not be overlooked, Djamel Belmadi's side are unbeaten in 26 matches.

Egypt were the last team to win the tournament on home soil in 2006, and we take a look at Cameroon's chances of getting their hands on the trophy.

Formbook supports Cameroon's chances

Toni Conceicao's side were already guaranteed their place at the tournament as hosts, but they still topped their qualifying group.

The Indomitable Lions have only lost one of their previous ten matches, while five victories on the spin helped raise the confidence in the camp.

Hosting any tournament brings uninvited pressure, but Cameroon showed they are up to the task as they came back from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1.

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar scored two penalties, which could be a good omen, with the 29-year-old scoring the winner when they last lifted the trophy in 2017.

Conceicao's troops were paired with Cape Verde, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia in Group A, and they should comfortably top the group at 1/4.

The hosts can put themselves into a commanding position this week as they take on Ethiopia. Cameroon are as short as 1/4 to win the game on Thursday afternoon, while Aboubakar is 20/21 to score anytime in Yaounde.

Home crowd so important for Cameroon

While other African countries are used to watching football on TV, Cameroon has a passionate fanbase that attends matches.

There were strong crowds for both the Africa Women's Cup of Nations in 2016 and the African Nations Championship, and there is no reason why they will not get behind their team as they chase their sixth AFCON title.

Only Egypt have won more titles than Cameroon and this year's tournament is a special occasion for the local people. They last held the contest 50 years ago, and the players should respond positively as they try to write their names in the history books.

Cameroon look well balanced

The Indomitable Lions have an incredible home record, and they have not lost a game in the capital for 33 years.

Their last defeat in Yaounde came in 1988, and they are due to play their remaining group games in the capital.

If they get through to the final four, their remaining two matches will also be in Yaounde, and the signs are good for the hosts.

Conceicao does not have any Premier League stars within his squad, but goalkeeper Andre Onana was recently linked with a move to the English top flight.

Napoli star Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa controls midfield well, while they also have Clinton Njie, who can support Aboubakar in the final third.

While the spotlight has shone on Senegal, Algeria and Egypt in the build-up to the tournament, Cameroon, priced at 7/1, can give punters a run for their money.

Their results on home soil are unrivalled; it's now down to the current squad to carry on that tradition.

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