October 11th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Cup of woe: Why have African football giants fallen short?

John Obi Mikel cuts a forlorn figure after Nigeria failed to reach the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations over the weekend.
John Obi Mikel cuts a forlorn figure after Nigeria failed to reach the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations over the weekend.

There were some big surprises for the traditional powerhouses of African football, as three former champions failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).

While we have to praise the likes of Niger, Burkina Faso and Botswana for making the finals of the competition, many fans will be disappointed that Nigeria's Super Eagles, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Egypt's all-conquering Pharaohs won’t be there.

The easy way to explain this phenomenon would be to say that the balance of power has shifted in Africa.

One could argue that some of the smaller nations have evolved tactically and technically and that many of their players are now gracing some of the biggest stages in the world with their clubs. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football