As the AFCON2013 draws near, soccer fanatics everywhere are gearing up with expectations for the tournament in South Africa, many of whom are hoping that their favourite side wins. But who knows, any team can creep up and surprise us like in the 2012 tournament. In this edition, sixteen teams will be going head to head for the coveted title of Continent’s best and for the African cup.
While some soccer pundits believe that Zambia (winners of last year’s tournament) was a good side to be on last year, they think that good fortunes and luck played a vital role in their emerging as the continent's champions. It is true that lightening does not strike in the same place twice and so Zambia would have to prove its mettle in this year’s tourney.
Some sports analysts say that Zambia might pull through in the group stages, but might not go beyond Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia or Algeria- their likely opponents in the quarter finals. It is also likely that Zambia may not go through to the quarterfinal, because the pressure to succeed will be too much for the players to handle.
In my estimation, the final four will be Ghana versus Ivory Coast and South Africa versus Cote d’Ivoire. Ghana versus Ivory Coast would make for great TV ratings as a final. I predicted that last year but unfortunately Ghana couldn’t make it to the finals and went home with the third position. This goes to prove that in football anything can happen. AFCON has not seen that great a final in recent times. However, if these two teams make it this year to the finals I am sure Television stations franchised to show the tournament would be cashing in on this.
Also, even though this is easier said than done, you will realize that when you take a look carefully at the group table, the grouping is balanced. In group A ( it is likely South Africa and Morocco will go through), group B ( it is likely Ghana and Congo DR will go through), group C ( it is likely Nigeria and Burkina Faso will go through), group D ( it is likely Tunisia and Cote d'Ivoire will go through).
Should South Africa go through to the quarterfinal, if for no other reason than that they are the host nation, and have home support on their side. I do not imagine them winning the cup, though. The winner of the cup could be between Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.
Meanwhile, some soccer pundits say it is going to be a straight fight between Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire and South Africa. And that Ghana is overhyped, and their recent friendly match against Liberia in which they lost by two (2) goals is an indication that they are not as solid as they are being touted. But then again this analysis could be flawed since Ghana has proved its worth over and over again as Continent champions for four times with its last win in 1982. Wouldn’t that make them hungry for the cup then?
Fortunately, Egypt (a strong contender in the African cup tournaments) is a no-show for ACN 2013. After winning the African Cup of Nations three consecutive times in a row, it looks like Egypt is exhausted and could not produce great results to qualify for this year’s tournament. With this giant out of the way, I am certain the four favourites see a good chance at grabbing the cup.
In a recent poll conducted by Goal.com, 42 percent of voters chose Bafana Bafana as their winners of Afcon 2013.The national side garnered the majority of the votes with perennial tournament favourites Ivory Coast coming a distant second with 20 percent of the vote. Nigeria edged third with 18 percent and Ghana trailed them in fourth with only 12 percent.
Whatever the case may be let us wait and see the outcome of this year’s tournament. In any case, you still have the right to choose your favourite side. Do you think that any team can win this tournament? Who then is favourite to win AFCON 2013?
Below is the AFCON 2013 Group Table
GROUP A GROUP B
South Africa Ghana
Cape Verde Niger
Morocco DR Congo
GROUP C GROUP D
Zambia Ivory Coast
Burkina Faso Algeria