Group stage round up AFCON 2012

Despite the absence of some big names at this year’s African Cup of Nations, the excitement and quality of play from participant in Equitorial Guinea and Gabon has been top quality, projecting African football to the highest level.

...even the array of attacking options couldn't save them

Group A:
The biggest shock of the tournament till date is the embarrassing exit of one of the tournament’s favorite, Senegal. The Teranga Lions lost their three group games thus leaving Equitorial Guinea with no points, much to the chagrin of their supporters and many bookmakers.

Libya should be proud of their campaign which ended with a solitary victory.

The Zambia won the group with seven points while co-host Equitorial Guniea finished as runners-up.
The game between Knights of the Mediterranean (Libya) and the Chipolopolo (Zambia) was the only draw recorded in  group A while the remaining five had winners and losers.
A total of 15 goals was scored in Bata and Malabo

Group B:

Kolo Toure marshalling the Ivory Coast...

Cote d’Ivorie have left no one in doubt of their mission in Equitorial Guniea by securing maximum nine points. The Elephants started slowly with a narrow victory over Sudan before dispatching Burkina Faso and Angola respectively. Didier Drogba and company may not have hit top gear but the Kolo Toure marshaled defense has been resolute with no goal conceded.

Les Etalons (Burkina Faso) and Palancas Negras (Angola) were expected to jostle for the second spot behind Les Elephants but the Falcons of Jedaine (Sudan) grew stronger after their opening game to secure the quarter final ticket ahead of the other two competitors.

Burkina Faso exciting brand of attacking football was a joy to behold. AJ Auxerre’s Alain Traore pulling the strings upfront but their weakness at the back conceding six goal caused their downfall.

Recent host Angola exit the tournament after round one despite Manucho’s goals.

Five victories and one draw was recorded in this group too with a total of 15 goals scored in Malabo and Bata.

Group C:
My team of the tournament so far – Les Panthers of Gabon haven’t failed to light up the stadium on their match day. The co-host attacking brand of football has yielded three victories including a last gap winner against the Atlas Lions of Morocco on match day two. Crowd favorite and homeboy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who the locals call “Neymar” has shone like a million stars.

My team of the tournament, so far

2004 winners, Tunisia finished in second ahead of their fellow north African brothers Morocco who have disappointed their fans once again while the Mena of Niger leave without a single point but a solitary goal to cherish.

It was a case of winners and losers in here with six victories and no draw. 15 appears to be the number for goals in Libreville and Franceville too.

Group D:
The Syli Nationale (Guinea) turned on the style in Franceville in their make or break game against AFCON debutant Botswana by crushing 6-1. It’s a shame such a emphatic win wasn’t enough to help secure their passage to the next round. A loss to Les Aigles (Mali) in their first match and a draw against tournament favorites The Black Stars of Ghana condemned them to third position on the log.

The Black Stars haven’t been spectacular so far but they have been professional in getting the job done. Emmanuel Badu’s unstoppable belter from outside the box was Ghana’s 100th Nations Cup goal in their 1-1 draw against Guinea. Mali have Seydou Keita to thank for keeping them alive in the tournament but had to endure a nervy five minutes wait for news of a favorably result to filter in from Franceville.
Five victories and one draw settled the round robin games here with a total of 16 goals scored in Franceville and Libreville.

The sub-region of West Africa is the biggest loser in the first round with four teams (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea) crashing out.

The stage is set for quarter-finals.

The first game is between the Chipolopolo of Zambia and the Falcons of Jedaine from Sudan in Bata.

The second game sees tournament favorite Cote d’Ivoire tackle co-host Equitorial Guinea in Malabo for a place in the semis.

Perhaps one that offer more intriguing sight is the game between co-host Gabon and Mali in Libreville. Mali coach Alain Giresse coming face to face with the country he managed before being succeeded by current Gabon coach Gernot Rohr while another favorite the Black Stars of Ghana will take on the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia for a place in the last four.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by harphyz on February 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    The quater final is gonna b a cracker aand I tip Zambia and Ivory coast scaling the hurdle.


  2. Posted by harphyz on February 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Zambia and Ivory Coast should make it through while the other two matches are definitely gonna be a cracker… Zambia are living up to their dark horses tag and they are through pretenders.


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