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2008 African Cup Of Nations


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I think the group B is the strongest with Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast and Benin being some of the strongets in Africa make that group to be the one to watch out for. I think Ivory Coast and Nigerian may make lead in the group. Contending Mali and Benin from the table are not relentless to climb to the top -- Mali looks more promising among those two.

Ghana being the host would definately be having some home advantage to lead Group A but, Am not ignoring Morocco from escaping through. The Moroccans are as skillful as the Nigerians but only that Nigeria has a better records and Experiences in the game.

I can fairly bet on it that Egypt will lose to Cameroon on their first meet but will sail through to the next round. As for Zambia and Sudan a stalemate is expected of them. Sudan is to lose(The past indescent act, Mohammed Teddy bear issue, will contribute to fall in their morale) so that Zambia will take the third position.

The last but not the least group D, we will experience another tough march in the like of the Nigeria group B. Senegal and Tunis is to get the kudos. South Africa still playing the western style will have it difficult to get to the top of the table after the section. Angola may surprise the least, they may out perform South Africa --- I can not bet on that one.

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Ghana eagerly awaits start of African Cup ahead of match against Guinea


Bruce Mutsvairo, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Sat Jan 19, 1:07 PM ET

ACCRA, Ghana - Downtown Accra is decorated with "Go Ghana" banners as this lively city of nearly three million people prepares for the start of the continent's most storied soccer tournament.


A million visitors are expected in the West African state for the African Cup of Nations, which begins Sunday with a sold-out opener between the host nation - led by Chelsea's Michael Essien - and Guinea.

Ghana is looking for a fifth title, but is without inspirational skipper Stephen Appiah who is injured and expected to miss the entire three-week tournament.

Africa's biggest soccer festival is less popular with several European clubs that lose some of their top players to the tournament. Thirty-seven players from the English Premier league are participating in this year's contest.

Still, Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou said it was unlikely the timing of the tournament will change in the future.

Speaking at a joint conference with FIFA president Sepp Blatter Saturday, Hayatou said moving the tournament from January to June as is being requested by top European clubs "would be the end of African football."

However, he said the biannual tournament could be rescheduled to odd-numbered years, so it never takes place on the same year as the World Cup.

"We can change that. That we can do," he said.

Blatter said his organization had formed a strategic committee to investigate "possibilities for change," and that its findings will be presented ahead of the next tournament in Angola in 2010.

Accra resident David Gaba, 47, a security guard at a city hotel, isn't looking that far ahead, keeping his focus on Sunday.

"I know many people in Ghana are just interested in seeing us winning against Guinea tomorrow," Gaba said.

The tournament features 16 teams, with games being played in the cities of Accra, Kumasi, Temale and Sekondi. Ghana, whose last win came in 1982, is drawn in Group A alongside Guinea, Morocco and Namibia.

Two-time champion Nigeria, with stars such as Aiyegbini Yakubu and Obafemi Martins, will face Didier Drobga's Ivory Coast, Mali and Benin in Group B. Defending champion Egypt, with a record five titles, faces four-time Champion Cameroon in Group C. That group also includes Sudan and Zambia.

Teams in Group D are South Africa, Senegal, Tunisia and Angola.

Nearly 16,000 journalists have sought accreditation for the event, prompting chaotic and angry scenes at Accra's small accreditation centre, with only a handful of staff dealing with hundreds of journalists jostling for position around impromptu wooden tables.

Police officers had to push back seemingly endless waves of shouting, finger-pointing journalists all waving accreditation letters and passports. Several journalists complained of having been robbed during the melee.

The atmosphere in Ghana is building frenetically ahead of Sunday's game with dozens of traders along the roads of Accra running up to motorists, eagerly trying to sell Ghana flags and other memorabilia.

The last two tournaments were both won by the host - Egypt in 2006 and Tunisia four years ago - and confidence is high that this could by Ghana's year.

But Morocco and Guinea are tough opponents to start with.

Guinea has experience in defence with Celtic's Bobo Balde and flair in attack with the skilful, yet unpredictable, Pascal Feindouno of Saint-Etienne.

Morocco, which was runner-up to Tunisia in 2004, held France to a 2-2 draw at Stade de France in November, with Youssef Mokhtari and Youssef Hadji stretching France's defence with some tricky approach play.

PD: Sorry for my mistake james, i was talking to Faster :lol:

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As an interested outside observer, Group D looks the most interesting to me. The African Nations is always an interesting tournament, and the federation should resist all efforts to move the tournament to summer, if only to piss the Premier League off.

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From BBC Sports


Ghana 2-1 Guinea

By Ben Wyatt

Sulley Muntari's last-gasp wonder goal gave hosts Ghana a win in their opening Africa Cup of Nations game against Group A opponents Guinea.

The midfielder rifled a 30-yard shot into the top corner to ensure the Black Stars took all three points.

Asamoah Gyan had put Ghana into the lead midway through the second half with a crashing penalty.

A header from Oumar Kalabane equalised for Guinea, before Muntari got Ghana out of jail with his late winner.

The weight of delivering the hopes of a nation seemed to burden Ghana who started the match in scrappy fashion.

Asamoah Gyan had the best early chance, having been played in by Sulley Muntari on six minutes before shooting wide from 15 yards.

Gyan then found himself with another opportunity within 20 seconds thanks to a poor goal-kick from Guinea goalkeeper Kemoko Camara.

The Black Stars started to settle but as the Accra crowd warmed to their sides' chances, Guinea showed they too could be dangerous with Oumar Kalabane heading over from a corner.

New-boy Quincey Owusu-Abeyie was a growing threat for Ghana, providing tricks and crosses from the left wing, as the powerful Ghanaian midfield of Michael Essien and Muntari started to pull the strings.

And it was from Owusu-Abeyie's cross that Junior Agogo smashed a header against the post on 20 minutes to crank up the pressure on the Sylli Nationale.

Despite their lack of possession Guinea still broke with purpose to worry a pensive looking Ghana defence.

But it was Essien who had the whole stadium on their feet again, when he hit the post again from a Kingston, left-wing, corner.

As the game approached half-time the 33 degree heat, not to mention the long grass, slowed the passing.

Muntari then fired a half-volley thunderbolt against the upright, Ghana's third close miss of the half, after connecting with a cross from Kingston.

French coach Claude LeRoy must have said a few choice words at half time because his Ghana side restarted with increased purpose, throwing balls forward looking the head of Gyan.

Another long-ball to the head of Gyan played in Junior Agogo who was scythed down by Kalabane as he sprinted into the box to earn the Black Stars a penalty.

Udinese's Gyan shrugged off any nerves to slam the ball into the roof of the net, sending the home crowd into riotous celebration.

Coach Robert Nouzaret changed to a more attacking formation and his Guinea side rallied by creating a number of openings, to the worry of a Ghanaian defence led by an on-form Eric Addo.

The pressure paid off when Oumar Kallabane rose above two Black Star defenders to thump home a header in off the crossbar from a Feindouno corner.

The initiative was now with Guinea, as Ghana once again looked under pressure and in need of their big names players, especially Essien, to wrest back control.

The Black Stars were being limited to long-range efforts before Dede, the son of Ghana legend Abedi 'Pele' Ayew, replaced Owusu-Abeyie.

Andre 'Dede' Ayew nearly scored with his first touch, crashing a point-blank shot at keeper Camara who saved well.

Muntari then went close with a long-range drive - in what was becoming an open, end-to-end game.

Then out of nowhere Sulley Muntari unleashed a left- foot bullet from midway in the Guinea half that crashed in to the top corner of the goal to rescue the party planned by the home fans in Accra.

Some pics from the opening





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Today's matches is going to be excellent. Nigeria being the most ranked team in Africa, I expect them to put up beautiful performance. One thing is that you can not predict our boys--whenever you expect much of them they give you less. Nevertheless, I hope the trash Ivory Coast people are over-exaggarating about in the continent. I termed this match to be final of finals. I don't think Didier Drogan is going to do any magic as their are some of our strong international defenders on the team. I saying this to Nigerian that they should just concentrate on Dragba but also should be conscious of his using offside advantage to score goals. I prefer the super eagle to play a tacticle game by being more responsible and not lose co-operation in the team work. With these the team will come out victorious against Ivory Coast.

The first match that will be played today against Morocco and Namibia is going full of goals. I beleive the Morroccan sid is going to get more goals to create the first record for highest number of goals from a match. I am speaking to the Namibian team to try their best to put a good fight, though, the Moroccan are skillful.

I wish the teams the best of lucks!

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Defeat certainly puts Nigeria under pressure. They'll probably need to win both their remaining games to qualify for the quarter-finals now.

Of course! All things being equal, it will also tells how much effort the Nigerian team need to put into their remaining matches. They shouldn't just concentrate on skill full dribbles and passes alone also to make sure they score goals. It's not too early to say it is out of the game yet, as they will be taking on another strong but technical weak Malian team. Against Benin, which I expected them to get three points from there(It's easier said than done), will not be a side to underrate. This first match has really gave a big blow to the Nigerian side. Meanwhile, I am not seeing Ivory Coast taking this cup home.

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The most surprising match of today is Egypt defeating Cameroon 4 to 1, shows that those overrated countries in Africa by FIFA are not putting much into the football sport in terms of building it up to follow the ranking. Sudan and Gambian drawing their match was my expectation rather.

These first matches were just tests just like what you do with preliminaries. These matches are actually important in the real sense adding points and giving each team an advantage. The following matches would be tagged know-your-faith-on-where-you-going-to-be-headed- in-the-ongoing-nations-Cup.

Still, Nigeria might go far but not too far than expected.

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Egypt and Cameroon game finally ended 4 -1 being on the favor side of Egyptian Pharaoh. The Sudan 0, Zambia 3. At the moment it's surprising how the Zambians are doing the Sudanese justice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So well, the final will be between Egypt (again <_< ) and Cameroon. The pharaons eliminated Cote d'Ivoire with a 4-1 beating. While Cameroon eliminated the hosts, Ghana, with a final score of 1-0



It's Lions v Pharoahs as Ghana mourns African Nations Cup exit

by Nick Reeves Thu Feb 7, 6:46 PM ET

ACCRA (AFP) - Cameroon dashed Ghana's African Nations Cup title dreams with a 1-0 semi-final win on Thursday to set up a rematch with their opening round conquerors Egypt in Sunday's final.


Defending champions Egypt, seeking their sixth African crown, maintained their impressive run against expectations after struggling to qualify to crush competition favourites Ivory Coast 4-1.

That lop-sided semi-final in Kumasi was a rematch of the 2006 final decided on penalties but this meeting two years on was a far more clear cut affair.

Ahmed Fathy started the rout with Amr Zaky extending the champions' lead in the 62nd minute before Kader Keita reduced the tally for the Ivorians a minute later.

Zaky restored Egypt's two-goal cushion in the 67th minute with Mohamed Aboutrika completing the unscripted demolition in stoppage time.

Egypt's keeper Essam El Hadry, who produced a series of fine saves, said: "I'm the happiest man in the world.

"We are delighted with the performance and the result," added Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib.

"This was a repeat of our 2006 final and on Sunday we will have another repeat against Cameroon, who we beat in our group."

The Ivorians coach Gerard Gili insisted the first-half loss of first-choice goalkeeper Boubacar Barry through injury did not adversely affect the fortunes of his team.

"The exit of my goalkeeper was not the reason we lost, his absence only meant I lost a chance to make another substitution. We simply had an off day. We did not expect to lose by such a wide margin but the Egyptians played well and pulled it off."

The last back-to-back winners of the trophy were Cameroon who earlier gate-crashed Ghana's party when substitute Alan Nkong, playing in only his second international, produced the only goal of a tense sometimes scrappy semi-final in Accra.

The midfielder came on in the second half and minutes later fired past keeper Richard Kingson to keep Cameroon on course for a record-equalling fifth title.

It left Ghana, unbeaten to this point, facing a reluctant trip to Kumasi for the inconsequential third place play-off rather than a tilt at capturing their first African crown in over two and a half decades.

Cameroon coach Otto Pfister, who led Ghana to the final 16 years ago, has forged a reputation as an irascible straight-talking 70-year-old but the German was all sweetness and light after upsetting the hosts.

"It's one of the highlights of my career, but this is the life of a coach, you win and you lose," he said.

"Getting through to the final isn't important for me, it's important to the president of Cameroon and his people."

Nkong, a midfielder with Atlente in Mexico, suggested Cameroon's opening first round 4-2 defeat to Egypt spurred the Indomitable Lions to the final.

"We were criticized so much after the first match. Every match has been a final for us since then," said the player who spent eight years in the international wilderness before his recall.

Fellow midfielder Achille Emana emphasised Cameroon's greater mental strength.

"That was the main difference between the teams," he reflected.

Ghana manager Claude Le Roy described the loss as "a huge, huge disappointment".

"I've been sad sometimes in my career but nothing like today," the Frenchman said.

"We were set to play in the final and win it, now all we have to look forward to is the third-place play-off. I'm sorry for the fans."

Le Roy bemoaned a series of knocks the Ghana camp suffered in the run-up to the match.

"This game was very difficult to prepare for. I had (captain) John Mensah out suspended, then yesterday Asamoah Gyan said he couldn't play, then 15 minutes before kick-off Laryea Kingston gets injured."

Cameroon will face Egypt missing Reading defender Andre Bikey who was red-carded in the last minute for pushing over a medical officer tending his own team's goalkeeper.

A section of the Ghana fans pelted him with water bottles as he made his way back to the dressing room.

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My prediction is that the technically fit side might win which is Pharoah's. That been said, the cameroonians would likely go for a revenge that the Egyptians side would find them difficult to beat -- leading them to penalty kicks. If it ended in penalty shootouts the pharoah might have their chance.

Cameroon really needs much effort than the Egyptian to win this cup. I wish both sides the best of luck on Sinday the 10th of February, 2008.

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One thing is certain right now: Berti Vogts is now out as Nigeria's coach for failing to get the Super Green Eagles to the African Nations Cup title.

I do not agree with NFA on the quittin' of Berti Vogts cos he's just too new with the team and not too conversant with African players or rather. But, if we take a closer look at the reason why he was brought into the national team as a coach, of which he failed to realize that, it's worth the stress to retain him for FIFA 2010 which is very close for him to put the team together. The team really lack co-operation. I would say, He has lost foresight of the players who are supposedly to be featured in the CAN Ghana 2008. This has drastically affected his performance as a great coach. I think he didn't do his homework properly to understand his boys. Anyway, the Nigeria Football Association should have quitted him so soon if not for the lowest performance of Nigerian team in Ghana 2008 than any CAN matches ever -- there's every reason to point a finger at him. The NFA reacted on time to prompt future repetition of low quality of play.

I admire his past records and coaching experience if only NFA could allow him to stay for more time and get more acquainted with the boys. He's too confident of his players and that was based on what he had been hearing about the Nigerian team. Nevertheless, the NFA needs to look further than just gettin' a coach. Still, I wish they allow him to stay but the time to world cup is ticking fast.

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Well, the cup's over, and Egypt have defended succesfully it's title. Glad to see that the team is recovering after years of problems with their football, and it would be interesting to see them again at South Africa 2010.

At least Ghana would be happy that their executioners have left with empty hands :lol:

Egypt retain African Nations Cup

ACCRA, Ghana -- Mohamed Aboutraika's 77th minute goal enabled Egypt to retain the African Nations Cup with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in the final in Accra on Sunday.

It was a record sixth title triumph for Egypt, who punished some uncertain defending by Rigobert Song to score the winner.

As Song dithered trying to clear, the persistent Mohamed Zidan gained possession and steered the ball across the goalmouth to Aboutraika, who slid his shot past Carlos Kameni.

Egypt, the first side to win back-to-back titles twice, were rarely troubled by Cameroon, the team they beat 4-2 in their opening group match in Ghana.

Matchwinner Aboutraika said: "Now we have to make sure that we keep this form going into the World Cup qualifiers.

"It's one of the greatest days of my life. It's up there with winning the African Champions League."

Egypt added the 2008 trophy to their wins in 1957, 1959, 1986 (on penalties against Cameroon), 1998 and 2006 with coach Hassan Shehata joining an exclusive group of just two coaches who have won back-to-back titles.

Shehata had promised that his players could keep the trophy won in Cairo two years ago and his prediction was proved right on a hot and humid night in the Ghana capital.

Cameroon were without suspended defender Andre Bikey, but Alexandre Song, who had been carried off in the semifinal win over Ghana, was declared fit to start.

He lasted only a quarter of an hour before limping off dejectedly to make way for Benfica back Gilles Binya.

Before Song's exit Hosny Abd Rabou had provided an early threat from Egypt with a 30 meter free kick which flew over the Cameroon defense to test Kameni.

The Cameroon keeper also kept out Emad Moteab's angled shot but at the other end Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan did well to deflect Joel Epaule's shot to safety.

Pharoahs' keeper Essam al-Hadary, man of the match against Ivory Coast, saved a 30-meter free kick from Geremi and on the counter attack Kameni had to produce an acrobatic dive to keep out Moteab's dangerous strike.

Eto'o, the competition's all time top scorer, threatened with a lightning run down the left before Cameroon coach Otto Pfister brought on striker Mohamadou Idrissou for a midfielder, Achille Emana.

Shehata then introduced Hamburg striker Mohamed Zidan in a move that paid rich dividends.

Zidan, who scored twice in Egypt's earlier win over Cameroon, harried Rigobert Song in the 77th minute and after winning a rough-and-tumble exchange for the ball, sent a controlled pass to the unmarked Aboutraika who had a simple task to score.

It was the Al Ahly midfielder's fourth goal, and it set up a fraught final quarter of an hour as Cameroon frantically tried to get back into it but the defending champions held on to take the continental cup back to Cairo.

The victory sparked off scenes of elation in Egypt.

Girls wearing the Egyptian flag instead of the veil danced among tens of thousands in the streets of Cairo on Sunday night.

Crowds of people wearing the national flag colours of red, black and white erupted with screams of joy as the final whistle blew, some lighting handheld fireworks, others crying tears of relief.

"Finally something joyous happens to us, finally something happy happens to us," said Mohammed Said, sporting an Egyptian flag instead of his traditional galabaya robe.

He had watched with many others on giant television screens on the central Midan Mustafa Mahmud square.

"With the government we have, everything is sad, the prices, the boats sink and trains crash, this is the only thing that gives us joy."

Policemen forming part of the heavy security presence on the huge square danced and hugged their countrymen, crying the name of the final's only goal-scorer, local Giza native "Mohamed Aboutraika -- Goal!"

Supporters young and old carried aloft posters of Aboutrika alongside goalkeeper Essam al-Hadary, known locally as "The Wall."

"It's one of the rare occasions when there are no Muslims and Copts and we are only Egyptians," said Coptic Christian Adel Zaki. "We feel united and it is the only thing we celebrate together."

All public transport was free as thousands headed towards the square. Buses inched through the crowd, rooftops overflowing with people and flags.

"Aboutraika you are the master," the crowd chanted, "You made the net sing your praises."

Next African Cup of Nations will be played at Angola, in 2010. And the 2012 edition will be at Equatorial Guinea - Gabon. Also, the logo system will change again, allowing the hosts to use their own logo and the old one (the african map with the pan-african colors) will dissapear.



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