After the first two weeks of the African Cup of Nations 2012 taking place in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, people can now start to make proper predictions of the possible winner of the tournament.
Before the start of the tournament, African soccer giants Ivory Coast, Ghana and Senegal were placed among hot favorites to win the title based on their good record during the qualification campaign.
Surprisingly, Senegal has been the biggest flop of the tournament. The Terenga Lions’ early exit created intriguing question marks in the way pundits and fans make prediction for this tournament that has so many underdogs of African soccer.
Senegal had been placed third, behind Ghana and Ivory Coast to win this year’s AFCON, the most prestigious soccer tournament on the African continent.
The reason why this year’s AFCON predictions had been placed high on Senegal is that they managed to register unbeaten record during qualification to this year’s event in the toughest group comprised of African powerhouse Cameroun and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Again Senegalese team is made up of one of the best African strikers in Demba Ba of Newcastle United; Papiss Cisse who has left Freiburg of the Bundesliga to join Demba at Newcastle United as well as Moussa Sow.
No one can believe that a team with such top players can exit the tournament without a single point, and am sure the Senegalese football association will have to investigate the competence of their head coach or the possible cause of a nasty show at the AFCON.
Now after Senegal’s departure and with quarterfinals being played this weekend, who is your money on to be the new African champions?
Ivory Coast and Ghana have performed to the expectation but there seem to be some giant killers in the tournament. Ivory Coast completed the group phase with 100 percent record in a group comprised of Burkina Faso, Angola and Cecafa representatives, Sudan.
Ivory Coast fielded a second team in their last group game win over Angola. This re-affirms their strength in depth but are they the best team so far at the ongoing event in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon?
Ghana won two games and drew one in a group comprised of Mali, Guinea (Conakry) and Botswana, who were making their AFCON debut.
The likes of Zambia and co-hosts Gabon have put up brilliant performances throughout this tournament.
A combination of brilliant performance and good work rate on the pitch place Zambia and Gabon among outside favorites to advance to the semi-finals and possibly go ahead to win the tournament.
Both teams have high attacking pedigree and do possess players with mesmerizing skills. The likes of Christopher Katongo (Zambia) and Augbameyang (Gabon) have performed brilliantly well.
They are both very inspirational their team’s good performance at the tournament and one of them might scoop the tournament’s best player award.
Augbameyang is currently among the top scorers of the tournament and has a very good chance to go on to increase on his tally.
Saint Etienne’s 22-year-old striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has formed a formidable striking partnership with Daniel Cousin. The duo have formed a fierce striking force at the AFCON and tipped to take Gabon to the AFCON final.
Gabon finished top of the group comprised of Tunisia, Morocco and Niger, managed to register a 100 percent winning record.
Katongo, who plays for Henan Construction FC in China, inspired Zambia to the quarter-finals in style with two wins and a draw.