Fri 22 Mar by Mark Gleeson
TAB soccer pools this weekend include a mega R26-million Soccer 13 pool and centre firmly on the conclusion of the African Nations Cup qualifiers and the start of the preliminaries for the next European Championship finals in 2020.
Saturday’s Soccer 13 pool starts with a R5-million carryover that will drive interest though the roof and includes six EURO-2020 qualifiers, which offer the opportunity for a few scared cows to be slaughtered and punters to win huge amounts.
In the Nations Cup race, there are still 10 places to be decided for the finals in Egypt in June. The tournament is now expanded to 24 teams and there is the chance for smaller countries like Burundi, the Gambia and Lesotho to qualify for the first time.
It shows that the gulf in standard between the so-called minnows and the establishment of the African game is closing all the time, but this weekend there is likely to be something of return to reality. It could mean that the fairytale for these smaller countries will have to wait a little longer.
The likes of Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe should utilise home advantage to book their places.
Then there is the clash between Libya and South Africa being played on neutral turf because Libya are banned from staging home games.
It’s a real headache for punters torn between patriotism and reality. South Africa need only draw to go through but if they lose they’re out and Libya qualify for the finals. It is a game of much importance for the immediate future of the game in South Africa, but given Bafana Bafana’s long record of blowing advantageous situations, it is hard to be confident about their avoiding defeat.
In the EURO-2020 qualifiers, the potential for upsets is large. A new cycle brings new coaches and players into the frame and there is always a settling-in period for many of the major countries.
Former world champions Germany, for example, have had a major overhaul and countries like England, Portugal and Spain are also introducing many new players. A few off-the-wall predictions could prove profitable!
To take a bet, go to http://protect-za.mimecast.com/s/C29hC2RX93IMgrVUnUCy8?domain=soccer6.co.za.