Africa Cup of Nations open thread

by Chris Bertram on January 21, 2013

We haven’t had a thread on the Africa Cup of Nations since 2006, but I see that the latest competition has just started. There’s a solitary win so far with Mali beating Niger. The bookies are fairly clear about who the favourites are: Ivory Coast. Makes a lot of sense, since they have strength in all parts of the team, with players like the Touré brothers and Didier Drogba. Coverage in the UK media is pathetic, with the competition not even having a dedicated BBC webpage and the games being shown on ITV4 and British Eurosport. Francophone reporting is, predictably in this case, a bit better: L’Equipe has a page.The twitter hashtag to follow is #Afcon2013 . Predictions?



Chris Armstrong 01.21.13 at 12:10 pm

Didier Drogba scores the winning goal in the final, retires from football after a brilliant career, and following a nice sabbatical becomes a great reforming President in the Ivory Coast.

Well, this may not have been the kind of prediction you were hoping for. But we’re fans of Didier in my house.


rf 01.21.13 at 12:37 pm

Not wanting to open a can of worms, but I’d go with Ghana. (Particuarly if they’d Essien, Ayew and Kevin-Prince Boateng – Who all seem to be missing out from what I’ve heard, with Boateng still retired?)
I havent been following football as closely last few years due to the Wegner/Trapattoni alliance, but I still know enough to not have any faith in the Touré brothers(maybe not Yaya) and Drogba. So Ghana it is


rf 01.21.13 at 12:38 pm

Seconding Chris Armstrong on Drogba becoming ‘a great reforming President in the Ivory Coast’ though


Neville Morley 01.21.13 at 12:41 pm

Isn’t it the case that Ivory Coast have been favourites more or less consistently for nearly a decade, on pretty well the same grounds as you cite for this year, and have consistently disappointed?


Chris Bertram 01.21.13 at 1:05 pm

Ghana won’t win if they leak goals to the likes of DR Congo, which cost them 2 points already. And yes Neville, but then Spain were favourites on and off for decades without winning anything (until they did) …. (otoh, maybe Ivory Coast are the Netherlands of African football).


stostosto 01.21.13 at 1:25 pm

I always wonder about Nigeria. By far the most populous nation, objectively they should be the Brazil of Africa, always among the favourites, and winning it about one in three times. They seemed to be on to such a role in the 90s, but then they faded. What’s the talk about them this year?


Chris Bertram 01.21.13 at 1:53 pm

stostotsto: Nigeria are 3rd favourites, after IC and Ghana. The bookies have them at just shorter than even money to beat Burkina Faso this afternoon, which looks quite good value to me.


Drogba 01.21.13 at 1:53 pm

The trophy will go to Ethiopia this year. Mark my words!


P O'Neill 01.21.13 at 3:43 pm

In fairness to BBC, the world service coverage is excellent.


Neil 01.21.13 at 4:16 pm

Live coverage on the Guardian website right now. Ethiopia a goal and a man down at half time.


Chris Bertram 01.21.13 at 5:08 pm

I think we can safely rule Zambia and Ethiopia (1-1) out of the running ….


js. 01.21.13 at 6:21 pm

I’m not sure what I would predict, but after the awful loss to Uruguay in the last WC, I’d really like to see Ghana do well.


Chris Bertram 01.21.13 at 7:53 pm

Well, on the basis of this performance from Nigeria, conceding an equalizer to Burkina Faso in the last seconds of extra time, they aren’t plausible winners.


t.gracchus 01.21.13 at 9:06 pm

Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Because the name says so.


Philip 01.21.13 at 9:31 pm

Although the BBC sport’s website is awful to navigate there is a good section on African football, which has a lot of coverage of AFCON.

As a Sunderland fan we had a few Ghanaian players a couple of seasons ago: Gyan, Mensah and Muntari. Gyan left for higher wages in the United Arab Emirates, I can’t really see him being stretched over there so might have lost some sharpness. Mensah was excellent but injury prone, he’s not in Ghana’s squad and I think missing him explains some of the weakness in defence. Muntari was only on loan to us and ended up going to Milan but I think he’s injured at the moment. I think Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng have ruled themselves out of international football. Even though I wish Gyan had stayed at Sunderland I like Ghana and hope they do well.


Chris Bertram 01.21.13 at 10:59 pm

The Lions of Cameroon may be indomitable, but they are not in the finals ….


minnesotaj 01.22.13 at 4:23 am

Côte d’Ivoire will play some attractive football, but like Gervinho & his present club Arsenal, they will make some spectacular mis-plays and fall out. Drogba, for his part, will make some also spectacular runs, in an effort to back out of China, only to make a back-handed case for why Torres isn’t working as a bar-back somewheres.


ajay 01.22.13 at 10:32 am

This is the one thread that I expected J Otto Pohl to be all over, and he’s nowhere to be seen. Is he, perhaps, unwell? Or have the Stalinists got him?


Brandon Kendhammer 01.22.13 at 2:08 pm

Nigeria struggles internationally at least in part because, while it has it’s share of UEFA-level players, it depends heavily on talent from the national league, where the quality of the pitches, coaching, and tactics do few favors for player development.


Metatone 01.22.13 at 2:38 pm

I pine for the days when BBC3 showed every game it could. I even grew fond of Mark Bright’s link man on the sofa persona.


Chris Bertram 01.22.13 at 4:41 pm

80 mins … and another 1-1 draw in prospect, so much for the all-conquering Ivory Coast!


Dick Gregory 01.22.13 at 4:48 pm

Gervinho’s just done the business. He’s been running around a lot. Adebayor had the ball taken from him five yards out after five minutes.
The Racing Post thinks Algeria are on the up and Tunisia are fading, so the 9/5 on Algeria is good.


QS 01.22.13 at 5:36 pm

C’mon Morocco, if you’re going to take El Hamdaoui away from us, at least give him some pitch time so he can find his touch!

(Fiorentina fan)


salazar 01.22.13 at 6:50 pm

No predictions, but unimpressive play so far.


Philip 01.22.13 at 7:44 pm

@ Brandon Kendhammer, surely that’s a problem for all the African nations. The whole structure of football is a mess. Any extra money put into the European game will go to players, owners of clubs can only really make any money when they sell (if they are lucky), and more and more owners of Premier League teams are in it for their own vanity and have no links to the actual club (this includes Sunderland). This money attracts players from all over the world but weakens those players’ domestic leagues and the development of national teams. There really needs to be some limit on wages, in Europe at least, combined with investment in developing* countries.

*That’s ‘developing’ in a footballing sense.


Philip 01.22.13 at 7:52 pm

Nice goal for Tunisia there to go 1-0 up in injury time.


Josh 01.22.13 at 9:02 pm

For the Americans in the audience, ESPN3 is showing every game live.


Tom Hurka 01.23.13 at 1:26 am

What’s the point of an international football tournament if it doesn’t feature England finding yet another way to lose?


Eli Rabett 01.23.13 at 2:49 am

They are also available as replays on


Igor Belanov 01.23.13 at 12:46 pm


England do play in an uninspiring fashion at major tournaments, but you do seem to be giving the usual cliched ‘doom and gloom’ analysis favoured by the English media.

In their last 5 tournaments England have played 22 matches and lost 3 in 90 (or 120) minutes. Not too bad a record in fact.

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