Africa’s finest assemble in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Africa will be the focus of the lenses of global football enthusiasts as the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in barely some few hours.
The centre of attraction will be Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, who are co-hosting the 28th edition of the continental flagship football tournament. On parade will be the best 16 teams as far as African football is concerned at least for now.
Since its inception in 1957, the Africa Cup of Nations has grown to become one of the most popular football competitions globally. This year’s edition is expected to follow the traditional suspense-like characteristics during matches till the coronation hour.
Fourteen teams (14) join co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon for the tournament scheduled for January 21 to February 12, 2012. The roll call of teams includes three teams who will be making their debut; co-host Equatorial Guinea, Botswana and Niger.
Despite the absence of traditional big guns such as holders Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa; the presence of top ranked teams like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia amongst others makes up for the no-show of the former.
This year’s tourney is historic is diverse angles; the first time in Central Africa since 1972 in Cameroon, the last edition in an even year as well as first timer co-hosts. Ghana and Nigeria, who co-hosted in 2000 had each staged the competition at least once before.
As usual, West Africa has the biggest number of participants; seven (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal). The Southern African zone has three teams in Angola, Botswana and Zambia whilst Libya, Tunisia and Morocco constitute the North African force.
Central Africa has two representatives in co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon with Sudan being the lone ranger from the Central-East zone.
Also, the finest of African football talents will be on display. Continental icons such as Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Didier Zokora (Cote d’Ivoire), Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Demba Ba, Papiss Dema Cisse, Mamadou Niang (Senegal), Adel Taraabt, Mehdi Benatia (Morocco), Oussama Darragi, Karim Haggui, Issam Jemaa (Tunisia), Pascal Feindouno (Guinea), Seydou Keita, Modibo Maiga (Mali), Moumouni Dagano, Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso), Collins Mbesuma (Zambia) will be seeking to guide their team to lift the most sought after trophy in African football.
Bata, the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea will host the opening match whilst the Gabonese capital, Libreville hosts the grand finale.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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