The 2012 African Cup of Nations being hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will soon come to an end but one can not help but wonder about the level of surprises so far.
The nature of the 28th edition from the qualifying stage to the tournament level in Central Africa has shown that it is the most unique tournament ever since the history of the competition in 1957 in Sudan. This is the first time two neighbouring countries wil co-host the premier soccer tournament on the continent. The idea of co-hosting of football tournaments has been tried in other continents but not in Africa until this present football tounarment.
The co-hosting plan gives the two host countries an automatic qualification to the Nations finals competition. Many observers believe that this plan had affected the selection, most especially when the two host countries are not rated among the top level teams on the continenent. Those who support this argument buttress their point with the absence of major top level national teams like Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroun in this year competition. They wonder what the excitement will be without the big teams like Egypt, Nigeria and Cameroun. But there were surprised with the glamour and standard of this year’s tournament with high octane performances from Ghana, Ivory coast, Mali and Zambia. The host nations have also not disappointed their fans with ‘fiery tale’ performances from Equatorial Guinea which many have adjudged to have justified their investement in co-hosting the tournament.
The tournament started at the group stages with Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Senegal in Group A. Ivory Coast, Sudan, Boukina faso and Angola in Group B. Gabon, Tunisia, Morroco and Niger in Group C. Mali, Ghana, Guinea and Botswana in group D. The major surprise of the group stages was the elimination of Senegal whom many have tipped as potential winner of the tournament due to the pedigree of their players. The qualifications of the host nations Gabon and Equatorial Guinea was also a little surprise but eventually served the interests of the local fans in the tournament. The quater final matches produced semi-finalists in the likes of Ghana, Ivory coast, Mali and Zambia.
The qualification of Zambia for the final of the competition makes it the third time they will be at final stage following their 1974 and 1994 performances. There are however very high hopes that the southern African nation will be luckier this time around. They however faced a daunting task against the Elephants of Ivory Coast who many have predicted will be the eventual winner of the tournament. Many however believed that the present generation of Ivorian players have not proved their potentials in the last five tournaments. They argued that with an array of world class players in their fold, they have underperformed in major African tournaments, loosing out when it mattered most. The Elephants however have to prove their critics wrong this time around and pray for better luck against less fancied Chipolopolo of Zambia.
Any other outcome apart from the trophy for the Ivory Coast will draw a black curtain to signify the end to an era and careers of so many Ivorian players without a major African trophy to boast of.
Later today, we shall update you with the outcome of the final match between the Elephant of Ivory Coast and the Chipolopolo of Zambia. Keep a date with Afroscandic. We are the best.
Written by Michael Ilori, an Afroscandic Contributor, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Published on Sunday, February 12, 2012.For how to write and get articles published on Afroscandic, see our Publishing Guidelines