AFRICAN NATIONS CUP 2013 PREVIEW, by Mr Football
There are 16 teams contesting to be crowned African champions. CAF has changed the calendar to align with international football dates. There would no longer be a clash with the world cup as the African nations cup will be held in odd years. Several notable absentees include Egypt, Cameroun and Senegal whose tie against Ivory coast was abandoned after crowd trouble with Ivory coast leading 2-0 and 6-2 on aggregate. Here is a breakdown of the teams and predictions.
South Africa, Morocco, Angola, Cape Verde
South Africa are hosts. They have not been playing the most scintillating football. Morocco have sadly been on the decline and Angola are potential contenders to get out of the group. Cape Verde knocked out Cameroun in qualifying and could be dark horses.
Verdict: South Africa and Angola to qualify
Ghana, Mali, Niger and DR Congo
Ghana players have already been embroiled in a ‘bonus’ row before a ball has even been kicked. Mali always seem to get through to the quarter finals stage. They tend to be solid. Niger and DR Congo may be spoilers.
Verdict: Ghana and Mali to advance
Zambia, Nigeria, Ehtiopia, Burkina Faso
This is one of the easiest groups on paper for the power houses. However every match is going to be keenly contested. Zambia are the defending champions and are coming in to the tournament high on confidence. They only scraped through 9-8 in the qualifying round on penalties against Uganda after 1-1 aggregate draw. Nigeria tend to underachieve with all the abundant talent at their disposal. They have a massive collection of silver and bronze medals with only 2 trophies. Can this be their year with an indigineous coach Stephen keshi?
Verdict: Nigeria and Zambia should comfortably make it through to the knockout stages.
Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia and Togo
This is a ‘tasty’ group that is delicately balanced and should have you salivating. All 4 teams are capable of qualifying and all 4 can easily go out. It’s too close to call. This is my group of death. Ivory coast were finalists last year and it will be fresh in their minds. Togo woud be looking to gate crash the party after a noticeable absence.
Verdict: If my arm was to be twisted I will go with Ivory Coast and Tunisia.
I hope you enjoy all the matches you watch regardless of what country you support.
Contributing writer – Segun Ariyo (a.ka. MR. FOOTBALL)
and email email@example.com