It is yet another era for the world to catch a glimpse of football made in Africa as South Africa host its bothers and sisters for the 29th edition of the Orange African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament starting from January 19 to February 10, 2013 at five stadia – Soccer city Johannesburg, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at Port Elizabeth, Mbombela Stadium and Royal Bafonkeng Stadium.
Initially the competition was scheduled to be hosted by Libya but CAF decided to award the host authority to South Africa as a consequence of violence that broke out in Tripoli capital city of Libya a year ago.
The five stadia which were used for the 2010 World Cup hosted on African soil by South Africa perhaps might not have any bad omen on the tournament.
Historically the North African countries have won a lot of the previous editions comparing to other regions.
Federation (Region) Champion(s) Number
UNAF (North Africa) Egypt (7), Algeria (1), Morocco (1), Tunisia (1) 10 titles
UNIFFAC (Central Africa) Cameroon (4), Congo DR (2), Congo (1) 7 titles
WAFU (West Africa) Ghana (4), Nigeria (2), Côte d’Ivoire (1) 7 titles
CECAFA (East Africa) Ethiopia (1), Sudan (1) 2 titles
COSAFA (South Africa) South Africa (1), Zambia (1) 2 titles
Despite the excitement, drama and expectations amidst the chanting from fans to cheer their respectively country to victory, there will be pressure on officials to execute the laws of the game on the field of play, coaches to bring their technical brains on the table likewise the players to produce excellent results.
Consuming, the 2013 AFCON excludes two powerful football houses such as; most successful Pharaohs of Egypt who has won seven titles and Cameroon with four titles no forgetting the Taranga Lions of Senegal since the commencement of the competition in 1957.
With the absence of these countries who then conquer Africa?
Will it be the new convert; the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde, host South Africa, second time appearance Niger, two times champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, defending champions Zambia or crème de la crème elephants of Cote D’Ivoire or the four times African champions, the Black Stars of Ghana?
Let’s steal a glance to the history behind these participating teams.
South Africa: Coach, Gordon Igesund and Captain Bongani Khumalo of the Bafana Bafana (Boys boys or Go boys boys) of South Africa would have a lot to display to their denizens and the world at large as they attempt to give a good run for their money as they chase their second AFCON title over seventeen years. The last they won the cup was when they hosted 1996 and The Bafana Bafana are making the eight appearance (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2013) since time memorial. South Africa is currently ranked 87th on the FIFA Coca Cola stands and 23rd in Africa. They have also made three World Cup appearances first in 1998, 2002 and 2010. Aaron Makoena is the most capped player with 107 caps while Benni Maccarthy their top scorer of all times with 32 goals.
Angola: The name of their national team is Palancas Negras with Gustavo Ferrín doubling up as their coach with Kali as their skipper. Angola 84th on the FIFA rankings and 21st in Africa made its first appearance at the Germany 2006 World Cup and served as best quarter-finalist in the 2008 and 2012 AFCON. Angola already has made six appearances (1996, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012) and South Africa 2013 would be their seventh appearances in a roll. An Akwa 37 goal is the all time top scorer for the country.
Morocco: The 1976 AFCON winners, the Atlas Lions of Morocco will battle for the ultimate in their fifteenth appearances under the watch of Coach Rachid Taoussi and Captain Houssine Kharja this January when the tournament kicks off. Already, the Moroccans have made four appearances at the topflight FIFA World Cup. Morocco on the African standings is 17th and 74th on the FIFA rankings. Most capped is Noureddine Naybet (115 caps) and top scorer Ahmed Faras with 42 goals.
CapeVerde:The Blue Sharks under the watchful eyes of Coach Lúcio Antunes and Skipper Nando might attempt to upset the apple cart in their first debut of Africa most prestigious African Cup of Nations event. Cape Verde occupies 69th on the FIFA rankings and 15th in Africa.
Ghana: The four times African supernova headed by Coach James Akwasi Appiah, Captained by Asamoah Gyan will be in contention for their fifth Africa penultimate with some days ahead of the 29th edition of AFCON. Ghana ranked 30th on the world rankings and 4th in Africa made its first appearance in 1963 equaling seventeenth participations in all. The senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana is making their nineteen appearances. The Black Stars participated in both 2006 and 2010 World Cup respectively.
Mali: The Eagles, as the nickname of the Malian senior national team under the auspices of Coach Alain Giresse and captained by Mahamadou Diarra after the country placing second in the 1972 phase and making seventh appearances so far, might change the terrain as they prepare for their eight participation in grand style. The Eagles won bronze at the 2012 edition co hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Mali occupies the 25th on the FIFA standings and 3rd in Africa.
Niger: The Niger national team nicknamed the Menas is making the second appearance since the onset of this event in 1956. Niger made the first appearance at the Equatorial Guinea and Dabon 2012 where they were paired in Group C with the likes of Gabon, Tunisia and Morroco but could not progress from the group stages. They will be under the auspices of Coach Gernot Rohr and Moussa Maâzou. Apparently the Menas is ranked 28th in Africa and 105th on the FIFA rankings.
DR Congo: The 1968 and 1974 winners the Leopards of DR Congo will also be making their sixteenth appearances at the AFCON 2012 (first in 1965). They have appeared at the World Cup once in 1974 hosted by West Germany. Head coach, Claude Le Roy and Captain Lomana LuaLua will have a lot to show the entire world. DR Congo is ranked 107th on the FIFA rankings and 29th in Africa.
Zambia: The chipolopolo boys of Zambia will be making their sixteenth appearances in the AFCON 2013 this year. Out of the fifteenth showcases, Zambia’s best assessment was champions of 2012 edition co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, runners up in 1974 and 1994. However Coach Herve Renard is the technical handler of the Zambians. Zambia is currently occupying 5th in Africa and 34th on the FIFA rankings.
Nigeria: The Super Eagles of Nigeria will aim at their third Africa crown after winning the coveted trophies in 1980 and 1994 respectively. Nigeria made its maiden appearance in 1963. The Super Eagles lies 52nd on the FIFA rankings and 10th in Africa. Coach Stephen Keshie and Captain Joseph Yobo will be under pressure to restore hope into the country by way of clinching the penultimate.
Burkina Faso: The Les Estalon (stallions) after eight appearances (first in 1978) will have a taste of the AFCON summing up to ninth appearances. The Stallions ranked 24th in Africa and 89th on FIFA rankings best result was manifested when they took the fourth place during Burkina 1998 AFCON. Paulo Put is their head coach while Moumouni Dagano is the skipper of his side
Ethiopia: Head Coach Sewnet Bishaw and Captain Degu Debebe will lead the Black Lions of Ethiopia to chance their second title in their 11th appearance since 1957. Ethiopian hosted and won the third edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1962 after beating United Arab Republic (now Egypt) by 4-2 in the grand finale in Addis Ababa. Currently Ethiopia is 110th on the FIFA rankings and 31st in Africa.
Cote D’lvoire: Chelsea’s striker and captain of the elephants, Didier Drogba will lead their charges to upset the applecart for the upcoming AFCON. The Ivorians have made two appearances at the World Cup; first in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. Aside that they have appeared 20 times in the AFCON (first in 1965) and winners of 1992 Confederation Cup. Francois Zahoui heads the technical bench. Cote D’lvoire will mark their 21st appearances. They are currently Africa’s number one and 14th on the FIFA rankings released late this year.
Tunisia: The Carthage Eagles is the pseudonym of the Tunisian senior national team. The Tunis ranked 8th in Africa and 45th on world standings has made fourteen appearances and won the 1978 phase of the Africa Cup of nations. Meanwhile, Tunisia has made four appearances in the FIFA World Cup. Would Coach Samir Trabelsi and Captain Aymen Mathouthi shock Africa?
Algeria: The Desert Warriors have been to the World Cup thrice first in 1982, 1986 and 2010. However South Africa 2013 will be their 15th appearance. Algeria best result was when they hosted 1990 and won on home soil. Algeria is 19th on the world rankings and 2nd in Africa. The head coach is Vahid Halilhodži? and Madjid Bougherra as their skipper.
Togo: The Togo national team code named the Hawks had already made six appearances (first in 1972) and South Africa 2013 will be their seventh participation in the history of the tournament. The Hawks made their first world cup appearance at the Germany 2006. The Hawks are 71st on the FIFA rankings and in 16th Africa are yet to win African Cup of Nations.
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Article source: http://www.spyghana.com/spyghana-who-conquers-afcon-2013/