In case your favorite EPL team doesn’t have any African internationals on the roster, we are here to let you know the Africa Cup of Nations started this past weekend. Sixteen teams from the continent have gathered in South Africa to compete for the title of best in Africa. ESPN was kind enough to give us viewing options by showing the games on ESPN3. I highly recommend checking it out for some lolastic soccer.
In case this sounds like Deja vu, the ACN was played last year as well. The tournament is taking place in 2013 so that the tournament can be played in odd-number years rather than even-number years. Both clubs and players were complaining about the strain on players during World Cup years were 2 major tournaments would take place.
The big prize for the winner will be a trip to Brazil for the Confederations Cup. If 2009 was any indication, it just means that all the other countries will have another club to beat up on, thank you Egypt.
As always, the big question is can the Ivory Coast win the title for once. The White Elephants have always been the most talented team in the tournament, but haven’t been able to lift the trophy. Since 2006 they have finished second twice, fourth once, and bounced out in the quarterfinals in 2010. With captain Dider Drogba entering the twilight of his career, this could be the last chance for him to lift an international trophy. The Ivory Coast has a tough group with Tunisia, Algeria, and Togo; but they should advance with no problems.
South Africa is the host country after switching their 2017 hosting duties with Libya, and Bafana Bafana has not gotten off to a good start. Anytime the papers have headlines saying South Africa draws opener with Cape Verde, it isn’t going to be easy. Angola and Morocco round out the group, but all squads drew their first match, so South Africa still has a chance.
Ghana is the other big name in the tournament, and their opening draw against Congo isn’t great, but they should advance with few problems. Mali’s early win also puts them in a prime position to advance.
Finally, the current titleholders Zambia are in a group with Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso. Just on name alone I’m rooting for Burkina Faso, who has a nickname of Les Etalons and a crest with horses on it. Nigeria and Zambia are the most likely teams to go through however.
Congo gets a special mention here for this awesome celebration after evening the score against Ghana at 2. No, the keeper didn’t score, but it is BUTTMAN!!!!!