The African Nations Cup begins at the end of this week in South Africa. Get ready to embrace the vuvuzela once again...
Just like any other football tournament, a lot of expectations prior to the kick-off are quickly extinguished by poor results. Or on the contrary ignited by decent results and a hope that the next match can only get better for one’s team.
It’s with the same notion that the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 kicks off in South Africa on the 19th of January. Several fans not just in Africa but all around the world will for another time be witness to what can only be expected to be spectacular if the last edition of this same tournament was anything to go by.
Having watched African football grow in leaps and bounds over the years- the storylines have changed over and over again and even this one is not an exception. The blog this week takes a look at five storylines to follow during this year’s tournament.
I must first admit the media in Africa haven’t really hyped the tournament like they did to the World Cup when it was held in South Africa. South Africa was and still will be a cool place to visit at any time of the year. Fantastic roads heading to the stadiums, beautiful hotels and the people I must say are very friendly.
Over the past few months though; South Africa has experienced ‘labour strikes’ in some parts of the country. The situation has since been dealt with and going into this tournament the fans will hope that only football will be the language everyone speaks.
In 2010, South Africa really took security measures to deal with any form of insecurity – we must all applaud them for a brilliant job. Though now on a smaller scale/stage known as the Africa Cup of Nations- it’s never right to take chances and the fans hope the security organs will be very alert.
The opening and closing ceremonies are such important events though some fans dare not watch the closing after losing out on the finals slot. In 2010 South Africa organised what was one of the very best ceremonies ever experienced in World history. Now it’s another chance, what will they do this time round?
WILL THE HOSTS DO THEMSELVES PROUD?
It should be noted that the country that hosts the African Cup of Nations automatically gets a slot in the group stages and need no qualification to take part. South Africa thus as the home team once again have the privilege of hosting the Cup of Nations on home soil, play in it and even possibly win it.
In the 2010 edition of the World Cup, South Africa became the first host team ever to fail to progress the first group stage of a World Cup finals. Sadly though; that statistic stands and any other team that can repeat the feat shall only be second.
Since the World Cup most pundits have argued that the South African national team has struggled for results but with the home support and the fans coming to cheer them, can they manage to get past the group stages and make South Africa proud?
WILL ZAMBIA PREVAIL AGAIN?
Of cause I was never going to finish this article before mentioning Zambia. They are African Champions, the best of the best in this continent. With such a title every team looks out for when they can beat you and when you’ll lose the title and that’s what Zambia has to face right now.
Being a Champion is hard, maintaining it is even harder and that’s what Zambia has to do in this tournament. Coming into this tournament the results haven’t been so inspiring- actually had to scrap through penalties against Uganda in Kampala to confirm qualification. The big question now is- will they, will they not?
MUSICAL CHAIRS AND CONTROVERSY
This shouldn’t be strange- not every team can have a good tournament. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and that’s the name of the game. At the Africa Cup of Nations it’s no easier.
The decisions have to be made. This decisions range from hiring to firing, dropping of players by the federations for future assignments, retirement from playing for the country and even stepping down of federations.
On the other side too; players have their own issues. You are never sure who is going to call who names because he allowed a simple goal in, he missed a penalty, he never gave a pass in injury time, he refused to heed to the coach’s instructions.
Even though some actions are out rightly ridiculous you can be sure- you’re either going to have a laugh of a lifetime or a sneer of the century. Ladies and Gentlemen when it finally comes will you be there?
THE FINAL BOW
Every tournament has its intrigues, these intrigues make people react differently, each reaction is explained in a different way and you can be sure it’s going to happen this year too.
There’s always that time in everything you do, you feel you can’t only get worse but you’ve given your best. It’s probably going to be the last for some- for other for one reason or the other may push it by a few more years just to achieve something. Sadly again for others- they might be forced out of it due to several issues ranging from sackings, greener pastures, health just to mention a few.
When all is said and done, we’ll all rise up and salute our heroes- all those who made the moments worthwhile, all those who caused us heartbreaks all in the name of defending the pride of our flags in a football pitch. For others though we might never have time to say goodbye- we might wish they went even earlier but one way or the other- isn’t it a final bow?
So come on- let’s enjoy the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations- welcome to Africa- welcome to football.
Haven’t set your hands on an Africa Cup of Nations 2013 preview? Worry no more. Visit www.superfoota.com for a complete team by team analysis of the 16 teams taking part in this year’s edition.
image: © celsoflores