Ups and Downs of the 2010 African Cup of Nations

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Time to pack your bags and head home. But not with a final look on what was and what wasn’t in Angola. What to remember of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations? What to forget? helps you find the way in your memories of the biggest African football event.


Egypt – Three African Cup of Nations in a row. It’s as simple as that. The Pharaohs were stung by their failure to qualify for South Africa and their absence will be felt all the more keenly after another superb display at the Nations Cup: fifteen goals for, two against, top scorer, MVP and 5 players in the Starting XI of the tournament… The stats speak for themselves. This 27th CAN seemed like a walk in the park for the Pharaohs that saw Egypt winning their seventh continental competition, their third in a row. They’ll be missed in South Africa.

Ghana – Most observers put the name of the Black Stars in the “Will go out early” category before the beginning of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. Without the likes of Essien, Mensah, Muntari or Appiah, Milovan Rajevac was forced to do with the U20 World Champions. The “baby” Black Stars proved they were up to the challenge. They quickly rose through expectations in an Italian way (1-0 victories) only to stumble in the biggest game of all; the final against the experienced Pharaohs. With the leaders back to add strength to this golden generation, the Black Stars are poised to upset quite a few people in the World Cup.

Zambia – The Copper Bullets were a breath of fresh air to a tournament that was stuck in the groove with the same names progressing to the final eight over and over and over and… Zambia deservedly made it through after playing with verve and style. Hervé Renard’s men were relatively unknown before the kick off. Now the whole world has heard of Rainford Kalaba, the Katongo brothers and Jacob Mulenga.


The CAF – Simply unacceptable. The way the Confederation of African Football acted towards Togo was outrageous. After being ambushed in Cabinda, a shooting that left two dead bodies and many injuries, the CAF threatened to ban the traumatized Sparrow Hawks for coming through the road, instead of flying to Cabinda. A simple misunderstanding? No. Issa Hayatou actually acted on it and banned the Togo team for 4 years, 2 ACF, and gave them a hefty $50,000 fine. Hayatou has already been met with a wave of criticism for his decision, with the words like “cruel”, “inhumane”, “stupid” being used — Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo’s most famous player, who was trapped in the bullet-ridden bus, has called it “Outrageous.” It is all of those things. A crass, insensitive administrative decision!

The stadiums – It is a problem that happens every two years. Once the host nation drops out, the stadiums empty. Before that, from Luanda to Benguela, via Lubango and Cabinda, the stadiums were seldom filled either due to a high price (10 euros) in a country where the average salary hoovers around 100 euros or little interest in football.

On the pitch, the show was hardly any better. Despicable, sandy, disastrous… Most observers found the green pastures to be unplayable. Quite rightfully as many players ended their games with injuries.

The Referees – Every two years, the African refs are put on the line. Every two years, the same things happen: mistakes and errors that change the final result. Something that can be seen each week on pitches throughout the world but in such a competition such slips are not allowed. Thus, Koffi Codjia, the referee of the tragic Algeria-Egypt, was a perfect scapegoat for the CAF and was suspended for an indefinite time.

The World Cup bound teams – Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon are all going to South Africa to represent the African continent at the World Cup. They better get their things together after their poor show in Angola. It’s particularly true for both giants Ivory Coast and Cameroon who entered the African stages with high expectations and were deeply disappointing – a collection of talented individuals rather than a team. The Desert Foxes and the Super Eagles managed to reach the semi-finals but their performances to get to final four were horrendous and not worth of a World Cup bound team.

CAN 2010  It’s time to see who the contenders are: who’s going to win and who’s not, who’s going to upset a few teams… January 10-31, Angola is the place to be for football fans!
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