Mali pair way overpriced to be African Cup of Nations top scorer

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Given that Mali are being considered among the leading longshots to win a first African Cup of Nations at 12/1, it is certainly a surprise that at least one of their strikers is not prominent in the betting to finish top scorer at the tournament.

Mali beat Ghana to finish third last year having lost a tight semi-final with the Ivory Coast and aside from an injury to Fulham’s Mahamadou Diarra, the squad is of a similar quality this time around.

With Ghana, without Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Andre Ayew, Mali have a more than reasonable chance of topping Group B, considering the other opposition are DR Congo and Niger.

The main reason for there being no favourite Mali top scorer could be down the difficulty in knowing which striker coach Patrice Carteron will plump for.

However, the logical choice to lead the line has to be Cheick Diabate and he is a mammoth 33/1 to be the top scorer at the African Cup of Nations.

First of all, he has tournament pedigree, as Diabate was one of seven players to end the 2012 tournament with three goals.

Secondly, he scored in both victories over Botswana to confirm Mali’s place at the African Cup of Nations and averages a solid goal in every two international appearances.

Alternatively, West Ham’s Modibo Maiga is another worthy of consideration at 50/1.

Like Diabate, Maiga scored in both of Mali’s triumphs over Botswana and his added pace could be a bigger threat if a regular second-half substitute.

But the fact that Diabate is expected to be on penalty duty just swings the edge in his favour.

The other outside contender to consider is former Manchester United striker Manucho at 25/1.

Manucho has scored nine goals across the last three instalments for Angola, which is more than Didier Drogba has managed in the same time and he leads the African Cup of Nations top scorer betting at 7/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.