Year ends, CAN 2012 draws near

Andre Dede Ayew

In a few days time the new year 2012 will be here and the much-awaited 28th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations will take center stage during the month of January leading up to the 12th of February when new African champions will be crowned.  The tournament has been described as an open one largely so because of the absence of some of the regular participants like Nigeria, Cameroon and defending champions Egypt.  This scenario has left many not looking much further beyond Ivory Coast and Ghana for the winner.

Of course every tournament will have favourites and this brings with it expectations and a fair share of pressure something the other potential winners would be glad to avoid.

Outside of the two co-favourites aforementioned lie some interesting sides that can glide underneath the radar and challenge for the honours.

Senegal seems to have picked up at the right time and will bring with them some of the hottest striker in the game today. Moussa Sow was top goal scorer in the French league last season and Demba Ba is currently second top goal scorer in the English Premiership with 14 goals while Dame N’Doye top scored for his club FC Copenhagen last season. Issiar Dia, Papiss Demba Cisse and Souleymane Camara lethal goal getters are also included in the squad and add veteran striker Mamadou Niang who is still scoring for fun to that list and the Lions of Teranga boasts one of the best strike-force at the finals.

Then there is Guinea who brings an unbeaten record from the qualifiers into the finals. The SyIi National chalked up four wins and two draws on the way to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Tunisia will be keen to make the most of the opportunity to be at the finals, which was out of their hands come the last day of qualifiers. The Carthage Eagles are the holders of the CHAN title after a win in Sudan last February and coach Sami Trabelsi has the nucleus of that team still and the Tunisians will be bringing bags of confidence from what has been a successful footballing year for the country. Esperance from Tunisia won the African Champions league and fellow club side Club Africain finished runners-up in the African Confederation Cup. Trabelsi has players from these two clubs amongst his charges for the Gabon and Equatorial Guinea finals.

Three sides will be making their maiden appearance at the finals. Host Equatorial Guinea will be keen to make an impression and go beyond group stage but with the latest set –back brought about by the resignation of team coach, Frenchman, Henri Michel it remains to be seen how the hosts will recover and mount a meaningful challenge. Botswana and Niger are the other debutants.

Ghana reached the final two years ago and further strengthened their credentials with a quarter-final exit at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is this kind of form that earns them c-favourites tag. Ghanaian Andre Ayew was voted the African player of the year by fans in a poll football website while Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast won the CAF Footballer of the year award. Both players will be among the leading stars for their sides as seek out to fulfill the expectations and replace Egypt as the new African champions come 12th of February 2012.

Source: Cafonline

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.