Thursday, 31 January 2013

AFCON2013 South Africa Group Stages Over, Quarter Finalists, Fixtures

Goodbye Beautiful Ethiopian girls at AFCON supporting their team

It has been quite an eventful past couple weeks at the AFCON 2013 South Africa. We started off with 16 teams now 8 have been eliminated and we move on to the next round of matches the Knockout stages, the business end of the tournament, the quarter finals. Over the past couple of weeks we saw a boring start to the AFCON with many matches ending in draws, but that did not last very long because by the second group games teams like South Africa, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso improved their game and started scoring those crucial goals and with those goals the AFCON got more interesting. Teams Like Cape Verde who only have about 500 000 people in their entire country did well and impressed many people, the girls did not want Cape Verde to leave as they were enjoying the “eye candy” according to some twitter updates I read earlier these past couple of weeks. Teams like Angola continued to under-perform during this tournament just as they did in previous AFCON’s.

Which Teams Were Eliminated from the AFCON 2013 South Africa?

All of the Northern African teams were eliminated during the first round during the group stages, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are all out. Algeria had a bad tournament and failed to pull off a single victory or to score in the first two matches, they had a 2 goal lead late in the second half but managed to screw up and concede to late goals from Ivory Coast. Morocco played well but not well enough, they played 3 draws which was not good enough to secure a quarter final spot. Morocco tried to win the last match against the lowest ranked side in their group South Africa but it was not to be as the hosts  managed to come back twice in the game to secure a draw and to end top of their group. Tunisia failed to qualify even after being given two penalties in their final match against Togo, where the ref was giving most of the decisions to their side, they only managed to get one penalty in the back of the net and their draw was not enough to see them through to the next round.

The Upset of this tournament so far is the group stages Knockout of Zambia the defending champions who got knocked out when they failed to win their final match against Burkina Faso. Angola also got eliminated during the first round, their poor AFCON performance record continues. Ethiopia were also eliminated despite having thousands of vibrant fans supporting them during their matches, they started the AfCON 2013 well giving people hope but then they were trashed 4-0 by Burkina Faso and 2-0 by Nigeria to seal their AFCON first round exit. Niger are also out, it is like they never showed up for the AFCON.  DR Congo were also eliminated after staging a great come back from 2-0 down against Ghana in first match, but disappointing in their next two matches.

Which teams qualified for the AfCON Quarterfinals?

Ivory Coast were the first to qualify with a 2-1 win over Togo and a 3-0 win over Tunisia to seal their place in the quarterfinals after only two games. The host Nation South Africa qualified with two draws and a convincing win over Angola. Ghana was not playing their best football but they also qualified to the next round quite easily.  Mali is a regular in qualifying to the next round, even though they qualified they did not play very well, their coach stated that it was because most of his players were not getting game time at their teams so we should expect to see them improve as the tournament progresses. Nigeria have had a poor showing so far, this being the weakest Nigerian team I have ever seen but they managed to qualify to the next round. Togo managed to qualify to the next round as well, even though the ref was against them in their final match they pulled through. Burkina Faso sealed their place by beating Ethiopia 4-0 and getting a draw against the defending champions. The surprise qualifiers have been the 500 000 nation Cape Verde who qualified by beating Angola during their last group match.

Quarterfinal Fixtures

Ghana vs Cape Verde, Saturday Feb 2, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 17:00
South Africa vs Mali, Saturday Feb 2, Moses Mabhida Stadium, 20:30
Ivory Coast vs Nigeria, Sunday Feb 3, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, 17:00
Burkina Faso vs Togo, Sunday Feb 3, Mbombela Stadium, 20:30

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The AFCON Has Officially Begun, Still Waiting For The First Goal

SOCCER CITY afcon 2013
Soccer City Afcon 2013
photo by Agencia Brasil

Today the AFCON officially started with the president of South Africa welcoming all the 5 African nations to South Africa and opening the games. It was a rainy day in Johannesburg much like it’s been raining in many areas throughout the country. There was a bit of doubt as to whether the National Stadium/ Soccer City was going to be able to handle opening ceremony plus the two matches between South Africa vs Cape Verde and Morocco vs Angola.  At the end of the day the opening ceremony and the two matches were hosted successfully there.

The Opening Match: South Africa vs Cape Verde

This was a highly anticipated match in South Africa which was attended by 88 000 fans with their vuvuzelas, the South Africans wanting the host nation to start off the competition with a win to make progressing to the next stage easier but it was not to be as the match ended in a goalless draw. It was a boring and disappointing match I hope these two teams play much more entertaining football in their next matches and that they score some goals.

The Second Group A Match: Morocco vs Angola

After the goalless draw between the host nation Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde, we were hoping to see some goals seeming as any team which won this match would be placed at the top of the group and have an advantage going into the next match. Unfortunately this match also ended in a goalless draw which means there are still zero goals in the 2013 AFCON after two matches, let’s hope the goals will come soon in these next few matches, the last thing we want is a boring low scoring AFCON. To be fair though Morocco were the better team during this game but they failed to convert their opportunities up front.

This was only day 1 and the nerves may have gotten to the players, let us hope as they get used to the competition and the pressure the nerves will settle and we will start seeing some goals.

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