Thursday, January 31, 2013

African Quarterfinals

With the time difference I have not had much chance to watch the Africa Cup of Nations. A couple of days ago I saw Nigeria's two penalty victory against Ethiopia in Group C that put the giants in the next round. Nigeria is eager for a success that has eluded the African giants for years, but their team is not looking that strong. The real surprise in group C was Burkina Faso. With 0-0 against the defending champions of Zambia they both won the group and eliminated the champions, an admirable feat, and it will be interesting to see them in the quarterfinals, where they will be up against Togo, while Nigeria will have it difficult against the favourites of Ivory Coast.
As expected Ivory Coast won their group D ahead of the Togolese. For Togo a 1-1 tie with Tunisia in their last match was enough, given Tunisia's bad score against the Ivorians.
My unapologetically favourite side is Ghana, whom I really hope to see lift the trophy. They were efficient in winning their group B, and will now face one of the surprise teams of the tournament, namely Cape Verde.  They were followed by Mali, a country with a strong team and full of hope given the difficult situation in the country. Mali will have it difficult in the next round as they will face the South African hosts, who won their group A. South Africa has not looked strong though, and that will be Mali's chance.
As mentioned, Cape Verde were a surprise. After ties against South Africa and Morocco, a 91st minute goal by Heldon Ramos put them in the quarterfinals in their first African Cup of Nations ever, a great feat by the small island nation!
The quarterfinals this weekend look as follows:
  • South Africa-Mali
  • Ghana-Cape Verde
  • Ivory Coast-Nigeria
  • Burkina Faso-Togo


Anonymous said...

Hi E,

Where is Egypt in this tournament - where is Marocco and Algeria - those Northafrican nations, that has often been so strong in the African Cup of Nations.
Egypt probably won the tournament 500 times in a row - has the balance completely shiftet to the southwest?

El Erik said...

I don't think it is that much of a shift: Egypt did not qualify because they messed it up themselves against the Central African Republic (their only qualifying match), while Morocco and Tunisia were not that bad. Morocco was upset by everyone's surprise Cape Verde, while Tunisia had a pretty good, and very young, side.
So I think North Africa is still there (and really, it is only Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia we are talking about).