Team and Players to Watch at the Africa Cup of Nations – SoccerThursday, January 17, 2013 23:45
Team and players to watch at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Africa Cup of Nations
The first major international soccer tournament of 2013 kicks off this Saturday when the Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in the South African city of Johannesburg.
The hosts, playing in their seventh AFCON finals, open the tournament against minnows Cape Verde – an island nation off the coast of Senegal with a population of just 50,000. Cape Verde beat the mighty Cameroon to reach these finals over a two-legged qualification clash that ended 3-2 in the Cape’s favour. They have no realistic chance of winning the tournament but it is a miracle they are there at all.
While Cape Verde’s players will enjoy simply participating this January, South Africa are expected to go far and have home support to propel them forward. Their main rivals, however, are steeped in both continent and world soccer heritage and are set to put up a real fight for the AFCON crown.
Ivory Coast are the current football betting favourites on bet365 to win the tournament, for they boast a formidable side that includes Chelsea and Champions League legend Didier Drogba and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure. Drogba already has 10 AFCON goals and is expected to net a good many against Cape Verde and Algeria in Group D.
Defending champions Zambia will also prove challengers for the title and should ease through Group C against Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and a stuttering Nigeria. Along with Ghana (from Group B), Zambia pose the biggest threat to South Africa’s aspirations of winning their first AFCON crown since 1996.
Ghana themselves reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and were it not for Asamoah Gyan missing a penalty in the last minute against Uruguay would have made history as the first African side to make the semis. Gyan is the bet365 football betting second-favourite to finish top goalscorer, behind Drogba, and with him in the Ghana arsenal there is no knowing how far this team can go.
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