January 27th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Expect more shocks at African Cup of Nations

David Alvarez scored the goal which sent Equatorial Guinea through and Senegal crashing out. (Getty Images)
David Alvarez scored the goal which sent Equatorial Guinea through and Senegal crashing out. (Getty Images)

The African Cup of Nations is coming to the end of its first week and, as I predicted before the start of the tournament, there have already been massive shocks and they are set to continue.

I’m delighted for Equatorial Guinea. Their victory over one of the favorites, Senegal, was a stunning result for a nation of just over 700,000 people and ranked 151st in the world.

They kept to a strict game plan and were rewarded with a 2-1 victory which eliminated Senegal, who will be going home after their final group game.

I believe that part of the problem for Senegal and other fancied teams who have failed to live up to expectations is that their English Premier League players find it difficult to blend with home-based squad members and those from other European leagues.

It should not be an excuse, but the EPL is such a fast-paced league that integrating its stars with other team members which such a short time to prepare is difficult.

The pitches and general conditions do not help either, and I never thought I would see rain like that in the African Cup of Nations! But Equatorial Guinea adapted to the waterlogged conditions the better, and their co-hosts Gabon are also doing well.

That’s brilliant for the tournament, with packed stadiums and a great atmosphere.

Despite the shocks, other big names are looking good and my pre-tournament tip Ivory Coast have started with a couple of good wins.

Arsenal’s Gervinho has been excellent for them and it was typical of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to score their winning goal against Sudan.

He’s an inspirational figure in his country and does a tremendous amount for charity. It would be quite something to see him help the Ivory Coast to the title in the autumn of his career.

I came in for some criticism for not mentioning Ghana in my previous blog and it’s clear they have a great chance. But being the leading African country in the 2010 World Cup finals puts a lot of pressure on them and it won’t be easy.

Having said that they coped extremely well with being reduced to 10 men in their opener against Botswana and I thought Asamoah Gyan stepped up to the plate.

Don’t write off Tunisia either because the North African sides are so good technically.

After my previous posting I was asked questions about the value of local coaches against big-name imports. There’s a mix at this year’s tournament and it's too early to judge the outcome.

What I would say is that local coaches can find it difficult to manage star players from the big European leagues, simply on the basis of reputation, but you can’t use this as a reason why some teams underachieve. Playing in the tournament should be motivation enough, whoever is in charge of your squad.

I could not be more excited to see how the next stage of the tournament unfolds, but you won’t be surprised for me to say, expect more shocks.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Ahmed

    Here is my tip for this types of tournaments: line the ball up at the top of the box, and SHOOT!!! I see Euro based players trying to do "too much". At the CAF( I would even go to the far extent of saying the world cup). The level is usually much lower that what we saw say...2 days ago with Barca and Real where everything is tight. Just think of what Diego Folran was able to do at the worldcup in SA or Zidane for Egypt at the last 2 nations cups. this is my tip to the coaches. if you have a good shooter, don't try to do too much, line up at the top of the box, keep it low (so the ball slides with wet grass) and SHOOT,most keepers suck at the CAF anyway...

    January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  2. george

    Interesting but not objective. did the reporter actually see the matches or this is second hand information? The article is too generic, typically of pub stories, and fraught with factual lapses! How can you say 'Arsenal’s Gervinho has been excellent' when in actual fact he is the reason why some of us had to switch off our TV sets to save power, instead. The guy was so pathetic, typical of his performance at Arsenal, probably haunted by Torres' ghost. Be objective, please!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  3. Prince

    god game the African cup

    January 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  4. 'Debo

    You call Gervinho's goal missing play excellent?

    January 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  5. Esther Nwogwonuwe

    more shocks! i agree with you, there will be shocks.
    but that's what makes the game of football intresting. when u least expect it... never under rate another team cus. they came with the same motive -TO WIN

    January 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  6. Mojahadine

    Once again I am sitting here and watching this so called Nigerian analyst stating his favorite to win the AFCON is Cote Devoir, good that's his opinion filled with jealousy as long as Ghana is in the tournament. They never wish Ghana any luck in anything because they have tried to be better than Ghana in a lot of things but have always came short. As big as they are with their oil money, having sold oil for the last 50 years, 96% of their population are among Africa's poorest and their officials politically bankrupt.

    All I can say to this Nigeria commentator is that, keep on dreaming about your Ivorian team but they will not win this tournament and then you can go home and wonder why a small country like Ghana is better than Nigeria in a lot of things.

    Ghanaian achievements on the continental level has been done through humility and not by pomposity and corruption. I am quite sure Nigeria has tried bribe their way to some of these tournaments to no avail

    January 29, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
  7. dozy

    @Mojahadine....ur comment is very pathetic, talk football and stop this your whining.

    January 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  8. ebou ceesay

    I did really love the way,African home based players are doing.They deserve BRAVO and needed an encourgement also big BRAVO to CAF.

    January 30, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  9. foetbal247

    Reblogged this on foetbal247.

    January 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  10. PanAfrican

    Your comment regarding Nigerian bribery in the African football set-up was totally uncalled for and disgraceful of a Ghanaian. I know them to typically peaceful and that was just clout.

    Secondly, You attack Nigeria when FIFA Rankings, and European and impartial jurists have also gifted the favourites tag to the Ivoriens. Their collective team play, the reputation they gain from the leagues their players play in are also testament to their possible victory.

    Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire are the two strongest teams on the planet and both appeal to different viewers. And you say we have conflicting issues, Ghana and Nigerian co-hosted the African Cup of Nations in 2000; and continue to have collective ideals regarding Africa and even at the U.N. Nigeria contributed to championing Kofi Annan's candidacy for Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    Your statement really was uncalled for and embarassing

    January 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  11. Ghanaboi

    Ghana don't let me down! For those that know nothing about my country, learn more here and then come back talk to me http://www.africa.com/ghana

    January 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  12. Kevin T

    My heart says Ghana, but circumstances seem to point at surprises. I would not be surprised if Gabon or E.Guinea steal the show, more particularly, Gabon. The two latter teams are currently playing fantastic soccer and have massive home support to boot.

    As for Ivory Coast, well, too bad. Probably, the man who will be their undoing is that Gervinho chap. He has been missing too many sitters. This makes me scoff at your suggestion he has been excellent. Really?

    My predictions? Let me leave it late, will warrant one after the quaters.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  13. alonzo

    Now that i see the cup of nations winding down, i can see Ghana winning the cup with Ivory Coast coming second. The final match is one no one should really miss as there will be a lot of fireworks. None of these teams will go down easily and i can dub it the match of the year on the continental level.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  14. mmonga

    I wish Ghana all the best

    February 4, 2012 at 6:18 am | Reply
  15. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Wishing the footballers and Fans of Ghana, Zambia, Mali and Ivory Coast memorable semi-finals.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  16. EK

    Well all this talk about Ivory Coast or Ghana winning the cup will seem misplaced now that Zambia is brushing aside all the so called pre-tournament favorites. Ask Senegal and now Ghana themselves, Zambia has brushed them aside inspite of the number of so called stars playing Euro soccer. Didie Drogba and Ivory Coast -here comes Zambia (the unrated underdogs of the tourney). You'd better be ready for the biggest SHOCk of the tourney. The final will testify to who the real Cup contenders are on the Afcon . Good luck Zambia!! Go Chipolopolo – the worlds will this time pay you your much deserved attention.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
  17. Neng

    Congratulations Mr Slade,I guess you on your way.As for the vuvu's I'll have to side with Dana on that one.Personally i had enough to last me a lfemtiie,probably one of the main reason i dont do local soccer.Oh and on your Ronaldo comment as you know in this world every model that comes out is better than the first once again congratulations on your first blog

    March 5, 2012 at 6:57 am | Reply
  18. Berita Terkini Hari Ini

    i can see Ghana winning the cup with Ivory Coast coming second. The final match is one no one should really miss as there will be a lot of fireworks. http://terselubungkutang.blogspot.com/

    September 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.