* Fields need to be completed
Account Details
Username * :
Password * :
Confirm Password * :
Email Address * :
Confirm Email Address * :
Please type the letters &
numbers in the box below
Personal Details
First Name * :
Last Name * :
Country * :
Date of Birth * : Select date
Favourite Team :
I have read and accept the Terms & Conditions.
I have read and accept the Privacy Policy.
Send me occasional Inside Futbol updates.
  |   Forgot Password?
XPlease log in...
Username :
Password :
...or sign in with your Facebook account
Connect with Facebook
Register   |   Forgot Password?
XEnter your email...
Email address:
Inside FutbolInside Futbol


2013 African Cup of Nations – Group Games Not To Miss

Betemariam Hailu

The 2013 African Cup of Nations is set to be a football fiesta. While the likes of Demba Ba, Peter Odemwingie and Adel Taarabt might be missing, there are still many stars on show. The tournament could be Didier Drogba’s last African Cup of Nations, while the Ivory Coast will be going all out to claim the trophy. Elsewhere, stars like Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will lead Nigeria’s charge, while hosts South Africa will be confident of a good tournament. There is sure to be no end of standout games – we’ve picked some not to be missed.

South Africa vs Cape Verde – 19th January

Opening matches are always interesting, not just for what happens on the pitch but also the atmosphere in the stands. South Africa are hosts and will be well supported. The country are suffering from the retirement of many of their great squad of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when they reached two World Cups and won the 1996 African Cup of Nations. Now, having hosted the 2010 World Cup, there is pressure on South Africa to perform, especially with Morocco and Angola to come after this. Cape Verde could be a surprise package, especially having knocked out Cameroon.

Ivory Coast vs Togo – 22nd January

This is an early look at the Ivory Coast, strong favourites to win the tournament. The Elephants have dominated African football, without winning this, and have a team of stars. Drogba’s men were even tipped by some to win the 2006 World Cup. Many of the stars in the Ivorian side are ageing and this may be their last chance to win the African Cup of Nations. The first match against Togo is a good look at the shape they are in. Last year the Elephants kept winning, before losing in the final, but without impressing. They will have to watch out for Togo’s star striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

Tunisia vs Algeria – 22nd January

As Group D is the group of death, this clash in this section will be interesting. North African giants Tunisia and Algeria could produce a classic encounter and either of these sides have the ability to go far in the tournament. Tunisia are not like the old days though and struggled against Sierra Leone to qualify. But they do still have Issam Jemaa, a potent striker, who can tilt the balance in their favour. Algeria did well towards the end of the last decade, but have failed to keep that up. They did not make the last tournament, but are now back with an impressive number of young talents. The Fenec Foxes’ first match should show how far they have come.

Ghana vs Mali – 24th January

Ghana and Mali meet again in a repeat of last year’s third place clash. The 2012 match was somewhat intriguing, with Mali coming out on top. This time though it does not feel like the Black Stars will fail like last year. In Ghana the public demand success and it is now 31 years since they last won the African Cup of Nations. A young side reached the final of the 2008 edition, last year they hit the semi-final and a more experienced bunch now looks ready for 2013. Mali however outplayed Ghana last year, but have only played four matches since then, the last two being qualifiers when they scored seven goals against Botswana and conceded only one. Their squad remains strong, with stars such as Bordeaux forward Cheick Diabate and West Ham star Modibo Maiga. PSG defensive midfielder Mohamed Sissoko and Seydou Keita give the side experience and class.

Zambia vs Nigeria – 25th January

The match pits the champions and the Super Eagles, who missed out last year. Zambia have struggled after their surprise win in 2012. They qualified for the tournament only on penalties against Uganda and lost against Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Angola in warm-up games. This match will show how ready the Copper Bullets are to defend their title.

Stephen Keshi’s Nigeria have been inconsistent. After struggling in the first leg of their qualifier against Liberia, they comfortably won the home match. Keshi has dropped some of the bigger names like Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi and has a team made up of younger players. After beating Venezuela, they drew with Catalonia and were held by Cape Verde. This first match against the champions is a big test for Nigeria.

Ivory Coast vs Tunisia – 26th January

A big encounter for the Ivorians who are desperate to win the African Cup of Nations. This could be a huge match if they slip up against Togo, while Tunisia may also need the win if they lose to Algeria. A good spectacle awaits and one which may well end up being crucial.

Morocco vs South Africa – 27th January

The last group game for both teams and one that will be highly anticipated. Both may have dropped points and the pressure could well be huge. South Africa are expected to qualify as hosts, while Morocco can go far in the tournament. This game could have echoes of the 2010 World Cup for South Africa, when they beat France.

Ivory Coast vs Algeria – 30th January

This match will surely be important for at least one team on the day, if not both. Apart from that, the two sides know each other very well. Algeria humiliated the Ivory Coast in the quarter-final of the 2008 edition. For the Elephants, this is a chance for revenge and possibly even crucial to their current tournament hopes.

Betting on the African Cup of Nations? Check out Inside Bet before you bet!

Read more

– Oussama Assaidi To Alain Traore – 10 Players To Watch At The African Cup of Nations
– 2013 African Cup of Nations – Group By Group Preview
– Ethiopia African Cup of Nations Excitement Tempereed By Lowly Ranking

Published: Saturday, 19th Jan 2013