The African Cup of Nations has reached the crucial stage, it has been one full of surprise, firstly Cape Verde –a country of 500,000 in population, qualified for the knockout stage in the country’s first ever appearance, secondly seven of the qualifying countries are from the West Africa Sub region, and thirdly all the North African teams were eliminated in the first round. The most interest aspect is how unpredictable the games have turned out to be. Some of the favourites are in the next stage, while some could not make the cut. Zambia the defending champions drew all her games - the first time a defending champion would be eliminated in the first round since 1992. The North African teams use to be the power house of football in the 80’s through to the 90’s. More so in recent times Egypt won the African Cup of Nations back to back from 2006 to 2010. The Ivory Coast have the best collection of stars in the country’s history and are definite favourites to win the trophy, they have been favourites for a while now but it does not guarantee victory at end. A case in point was when they lost to Zambia at the last edition of the competition



Ghana Vs Cape Verde

Venue : Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth South Africa

Time: 9:00 am

Date: 2nd February 2013

This one game that promises to be a cracker, The Ghanaian will be coming against the Islander on the basis of history, depth in squad and the their trade mark fighting spirit, if Ghana approach the game with the mindset of walking over Cape Verde, then they might just be in for some shock, The Black stars will be depending on their star striker Asamoah Gyan to bring in the goals. Cape Verde has shown their qualification was not a fluke. On the back of their performance so far, they have equal chances of progressing to the Semi Finals – a feat that could be over celebrated by the  500,000  citizen .It is one game that is difficult to predict, but we can be assured of an explosive encounter.


South Africa Vs Mali

Venue: Moses Mabida Stadium,Durban South Africa

Time:12:30 am

Date : 2nd February 2013

Following their opening game against Cape Verde, the general feeling among soccer plaudit was that South Africa will struggle, but a brave move by the coach when he brought in 5 new players different from the first game changed the entire picture. Dean Fauner, the new midfielder has been inspirational to the team success so far . The new look team showed a combination resilience and strong mentality. This was clearly evident in their game against Morocco. Mali on the flip side has show growth over the years. The last edition’s bronze medallist would want to maintain or equal their last position. The team solely built around former Barcelona man Seydou Keita has show immense leadership in  all their games. It would be an interesting game to watch and certainly difficult to predict. The South Africans would rely on the home support to spur them on.Ghana will be look to brake the jinx of a 31 year trophy drought,Cape Verde would be the first hurdle they would have to scale in other to realise their long standing dream


Oba Adeola Amokomowo

Bundesliga/ African Soccer Writer

Twitter @amoky

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