Posts Tagged ‘AFCON 2010’

Who will win the Africa Cup Of Nations?

As Africa prepares for the start of its most prestigious football championship, everyone is predicting who will win the 28th edition of the continental fiesta that starts on January 21.

Purely as an academic exercise, without going into a full player-by-player, team-by-team, grooup-by-group analysis, I shall look generally at the teams from a helicopter standpoint and shall hazard an opinion as to which of the 16 participants I think will leave Libreville with the trophy. My judgment is based on their history in the tournament and from what I saw about them in qualifying for the championship.

I’ve tried to group them into three categories of those who won’t win, those with remote chances and those expected to be challenging and can win


THE NUMBERS

In football, nothing is impossible but the teams in this category will not win the AFCON 2012. I mean no disrespect by listing them here.

NIGER Republic.

They have no historical antecedence to justify any higher expectation than playing in the group stages and nothing more.

MALI.

They are not complete and they do not have enough quality players needed to compete for higher glory.

BOTSWANA.

They are still too ‘young’ and inexperienced in African football to win the highest trophy in the continent now. Even with their investment in grassroots football development in recent years.

MOROCCO.

They will win a few matches but I don’t see them lasting. Their ability to falter when least expected is their undoing.

BURKINA FASO.

The 1998 host of this same tournament couldn’t win even as host and with better players then. They are a minor in their sub-region(West Africa)

ALGERIA.
Playing against The Pharaohs of Egypt always brings out the best of them. In the absence of their arab brothers, we could be left with little sparks but no fire.

TUNISIA.
They do not have enough quality to win.

LIBYA.
They have achieved more than enough by qualifying. They are nothing more than a featherweight.

ANGOLA.
They couldn’t win it when they hosted and now it will be the same. The team has too many fault lines, too many weakness, and not enough quality players.

REMOTE POSSIBILITY

GABON.

Because they are hosts some will give them a distant chance of winning the championships. But as co-hosts, they start to lose a substantial part of the support that a single host nation brings. Their recent performance against Cameroon and one truly starts to appreciate the very faint possibility of this tiny country going some distance maybe with some luck. The players to deliver aren’t just there.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA.

It is co-host. What else? The country has been making recent appearances in age-grade international competitions and even the female championships. There is something good happening in the country’s football to produce its recent results and exposure. Progressing beyond the group stages will do and anything more is a bonus. Winning would be too far fetched.

ZAMBIA

It may be unfair to include them here considering how they performed in the last edition. They show the desire and capability to win but never do as they do not know how to cap or close critical matches.

CHALLENGERS / CONTENDERS

The absence of some of the continents heavyweights at this year’s AFCON has made this group very narrow and direct.

GHANA.

Most analyst rate the Black Stars as one of the favorites for the title that has eluded them for 30years. Their performances in the last few editions and their exploits at the last two FIFA World Cup gives enough point to justify that position. The team is very balanced albeit without a prolific striker should Asamoah Gyan fail to reach full fitness. The expectation at home in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi, Takoradi etc will be nothing short of the trophy for the 2010 AFCON runners up.

COTE D’IVOIRE.

This West African giant parades some of the very best African footballers at the moment. Unfortunately even when everyone thought they had the best team in the continent in the past two editions of the African Cup of Nations, they faltered. Their talisman, skipper and great centre-forward Didier Drogba who may be well past his best has not delivered for Cote D’Ivorie with all his talent.

This is a reason why doubt their mentality and fighting spirit to win it. Without question, on paper they should be winners. But then it is not the country with the best players that wins, it’s the one with the best team.

SENEGAL

Like their French speaking West African brothers Cote D’Ivoire, they have only one victory to show for the abundance of talent available to them. Also, they boast of an arsenal of forwards such as Mamadou Niang, Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sow, and Demba Ba.

They are a disciplined and athletic side. I would not be surprised one bit if they spring a surprise.

From the above, I can draw a conclusion on who will win. You also can…