Africa Cup of Nations’ lop-sided draw promises intrigue if not high quality

December 4, 2014

xx
Democratic Republic of Congo fan – African Nations Cup
“Given the seeding pots, the potential for an atrociously difficult group at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations was always there. The draw delivered, spectacularly and brutally. Algeria, the top-ranked team in Africa, the only one of the Cup of Nations qualifiers to reach the last 16 of the World Cup, were the danger lurking in Pot 2 and Ghana the unlucky seeds. But worse than that, Ghana had already been grouped with Senegal – by some distance the best team in Pot 4 – and, from Pot 3, the side that eliminated the champions Nigeria in qualifying, South Africa, resurgent under Shakes Mashaba.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Advertisements

Africa Cup Disrupted by Ebola Concerns

November 12, 2014

morocco1-master675
“Fear of the spread of Ebola has now thrown Africa’s most important soccer tournament into disarray. Morocco was removed Tuesday as host of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and expelled from participating in the biennial championship after it sought to delay the 16-team event, concerned about a spread of the virus. No replacement host has yet been named for the tournament, which is scheduled from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8. The expulsion of Morocco was announced by the Confederation of African Football, or C.A.F., the regional soccer governing body, which accused Moroccan officials of being alarmist in wanting to delay the Cup of Nations by six months or a year. Ebola has not been detected in Morocco, the organization noted recently.”
NY Times


Departing Stephen Keshi finally pays the price of chaos in Nigerian football

October 17, 2014

Stephen Keshi
“Stephen Keshi was sacked as coach of Nigeria late on Wednesday night, bringing to an end a protracted and tawdry departure that has dragged on since the end of the World Cup. It’s a saga that reflects well on nobody and has left the African champions struggling even to qualify for next January’s Cup of Nations and it’s telling of how little football has had to do with the decision that it should have been taken a few hours after an impressive 3-1 win over Sudan that restored hope.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


DR Congo: Gunshots and shaking buses on international breaks

October 13, 2014

“His Peterborough team-mates are playing Crawley this weekend, but League One defender Gabriel Zakuani is making a much longer trip during the international break. The 28-year-old is a Democratic Republic of Congo international and will be aiming to stop Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Wilfried Bony when his country face Ivory Coast on Saturday and Wednesday in two crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Kinshasa and Abidjan. Zakuani was born in Kinshasa but grew up in London. He made his DR Congo debut in 2005 and was part of the squad at the Cup of Nations in South Africa in 2013.” BBC


AFCON 2015 Qualifying – 10 Best African Youngsters to Watch

September 6, 2014

“Who are the best African youngsters to keep an eye out for in Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifying? Matt Carter runs down 10 of Africa’s finest young players….” Just Football


It starts here… Africa Cup of Nations 2015 – 2nd round qualification preview

July 21, 2014

“In early May the long journey towards Morocco and the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 began for the sizeable percentage of African sides – indeed for Mauritania that voyage started way back in April with a preliminary round fixture against Mauritius. Before Africa’s elite, including champions Nigeria, endure the rigors of qualification the rest must be whittled down to just seven – having seen 14 sides depart during May’s first round, that number will be halved once again in the second round.” Just Football


World Cup 2014: Super Eagles can be the best of Africa

May 8, 2014

brazil-here-we-come-super-eagles
“If there has been a consistent theme in these World Cup columns – and there has been at least one, honest – it is that the Ivory Coast are not as good as people think. Given they have vied with Egypt as the best African team of this century but have a much higher global recognition factor because so many of their players play in the major western European leagues, that’s perhaps understandable – but support for them goes against the evidence of the last Africa Cup of Nations. In South Africa, the Ivorians looked what they are: an ageing squad. Yaya Toure, of course, remains an exceptional player and his influence can still turn games, but with Didier Drogba now 36, he is increasingly having to do it alone.” Betting – Jonathan Wilson