Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Equatorial Guinea battle in the shadow of Olembé

·2 min read

The final two games in the last-16 of the Cup of Nations take place on Wednesday against a backdrop of tragedy following the Olembé Stadium disaster in which eight people died and more than 40 were injured.

As inquiries continue into the causes of the fan stampede in Douala, the seven-time winners Egypt face Cote d'Ivoire - one of the Group E teams that dispatched defending champions Algeria to an early exit from the competition.

And in Limbé, the Group F winners Mali take on Equatorial Guinea.

The hype though surrounds the fortunes of a Cote d'Ivoire outfit that obliterated Algeria 3-1 in Douala on 20 January.

The performance contrasts sharply with Egypt who stuttered into the last 16 on the back of 1-0 wins over Guinea Bissau and Sudan after losing to Nigeria by the same score.

Warning

Despite their difficulties, the Ivorian boss Patrice Baumelle warned his men not to underestimate the Egyptians.

"We always seem to face big teams with great experience in the competition," said Beaumelle ahead of the clash at the Stade Japoma.

"They are a very experienced team. They always turn up in big games, even if they are not playing brilliantly."

Beaumelle, who has twice won the Cup of Nations as an assistant coach, said he was preparing for a tight, tactical battle. "It will be an exciting game," he added.

The winner will take on Morocco who beat Malawi 2-1 on Tuesday night in Yaoundé.

History

And history favours the Egyptians. They beat the Ivorians on the way to winning the trophy in 1986 and then won on penalties when they played in the 2006 final in Cairo.

Two years later in Ghana, the Pharaohs won 4-1 in the semi-finals en route to retaining their crown.

"What matters to us as a team is to live in the present," said Egypt boss Carlos Queiroz.

"It is two different teams, different players, different coaches, and the past doesn't help us to win games."

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