Archive for the ‘African Cup of Nations’ category

Premier League stars yet to set African Cup of Nations alight

January 14, 2010

After the first round of matches in the most perplexing of competitions that is the African Cup of Nations, very few of the many Premier League stars to grace the stage have yet to impose themselves notably on it.

Less hanging out with Bono, more goalscoring please, Didier

And that’s another thing, you can’t bet on this thing. Ohhh no. Any seemingly safe bet will soon have you ripping your hair out in frustration. If you want a chance of winning some money down the bookies, just chose the most unlikely thing you think will happen, and chuck a fiver on it.

So far we’ve seen Angola throw away a 4-0 lead to Mali with just 11 minutes left, favourites Ivory Coast held to a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso, Malawi stuff World Cup bound Algeria 3-0, and just yesterday Gabon beat a strong-looking (on paper, anyway) Cameroon team 1-0.

We expected the well-known Premier League stars like Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Alex Song and Emmanuel Eboue (hmmm) to show just why they play in one of the biggest leagues in the world, to dominate their less experienced, and less able opponents. But it just hasn’t happened. The only Premier League star to do anything of note thus far, has been Daniel Cousin scoring Gabon’s winner. And to label Daniel Cousin a ‘Premier League star’ is clutching at the most miniscule of straws.

Just why the big name players have yet to perform is a good question. There have been claims teams like the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Algeria are more focused on the World Cup in the summer. But it could also have something to do with the fact there have only been one round of matches so far, and i’m sure the awful incident surrounding the Togo team has played it’s part.

But you know what? I wouldn’t mind if the Premier League big shots don’t perform in the whole competition, it would just add to the wonderful unpredictability of the tournament.

Yes, some of the football resembles American football at times, in the sense that whoever has the ball just runs as fast as they can at the opposition defence until they are tackled, but who cares? Bring on Angola v Malawi and Mali v Algeria today.

And if you want to out on a cheeky bet, the safest thing to back would be Frederick Kanoute to score in a Mali v Algeria 3-3 draw. You heard it here first.

One last thing. The nicknames of the teams in this competition are brilliant. My personal favourite? Benin, who are also known as the squirrels.