Stars set to shine at Nations Cup

DURBAN - Veteran Ivory Coast striker and skipper Didier Drogba will be among the stars eager to shine at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
ADANE GIRMA. Net photo.
ADANE GIRMA. Net photo.

DURBAN - Veteran Ivory Coast striker and skipper Didier Drogba will be among the stars eager to shine at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

He has achieved so much in his career, but a Cup of Nations winners’ medal continues to elude the China-based striker. This could be the last chance for the veteran to get his hands on the trophy.

YAYA TOURE (Ivory Coast)
The midfield workaholic is the right side of 30, but no less desperate than Drogba to translate the multi-year Ivorian dominance of the African rankings into a Cup of Nations triumph.

Needs to banish the Bata blues as his failure to convert a penalty there in the 2012 semifinals left Zambia off the hook. The Dubai-based striker remains the Black Stars’ best bet for goals.

Has been in brilliant form lately, saving Bafana Bafana (The Boys) from heavy friendly defeats in Brazil and Poland. Fierce competition for the No 1 shirt has contributed to the improvement of the Kaizer Chiefs stopper.

The media-shy China-based striker is an inspirational captain and scorer of key goals, including the winner at home to Uganda in a qualifier that went to a penalty shootout.
MANUCHO (Angola)
Signed by Manchester United after 2008 Africa Cup, the giant striker now plays in the Spanish La Liga and proved an inspirational captain when the chips were down in a qualifier with Zimbabwe, scoring twice to turn the tie around.

Yet another African playing in China. He moved there after several seasons of coming on as a second-half substitute for Barcelona. A classy midfielder who can penetrate the tightest defence with one touch.

The Chelsea midfielder is among the new faces in the Super Eagles line-up as coach Stephen Keshi tries to reclaim a Cup of Nations trophy last paraded through the streets of Lagos 18 years ago.

Tunisians have been raving about the Esperance midfielder for several years and the time has come for him to live up to the hype and show why he has been linked with several European clubs.

A striker with local club CR Belouizdad, he burst on to the international scene this year, scoring three of the nine goals that eliminated Gambia and Libya en route to South Africa.

The offensive midfielder from La Liga outfit Getafe shone in the first CAF under-23 championship last December and scored vital opening goal for senior team as they played catch-up against Mozambique in a qualifier.

Frenchman Claude le Roy ranks among the most successful European coaches to work in Africa and he raves about striker Mbokani from Belgian champions Anderlecht, who bagged three goals in qualifiers.

ADANE GIRMA (Ethiopia)
The Saint George striker scored several key goals as resurgent Ethiopia put decades of failure behind them to reach the Cup of Nations for first time since 1982 and also top a 2014 World Cup qualifying group.

The value of the Tottenham Hotspur striker to his country was demonstrated in a qualifier against Gabon as he snatched a late equaliser in Libreville and struck the tie-clinching second goal in Lome.


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