Zambia will struggle to defend title

The reigning African champions Zambia will struggle to defend their title in South Africa. The Chipolopolo were not impressive during the qualifiers last year and narrowly escaped Uganda Cranes when the two sides met in their second leg fixture in Kampala. Zambia won on penalties after the game had ended one all.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

The reigning African champions Zambia will struggle to defend their title in South Africa.

The Chipolopolo were not impressive during the qualifiers last year and narrowly escaped Uganda Cranes when the two sides met in their second leg fixture in Kampala. Zambia won on penalties after the game had ended one all.

Though Zambia still has 19 players from Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, they have not improved their game to take on the best sides on the continent at the moment.

They beat a disorganised Bafana Bafana side during Mandela Cup recently but this is not enough to prove their 2013 AFCON credentials.

Their talisman and captain Christopher Katongo is among dependable stars in Chipolopolo but no longer playing at his best.

His physical presence in the game has declined progressively and is just using experience. Zambia is drawn in group C alongside Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Teams like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria and DRC seem to be in a better shape than Chipolopolo.

Unlike Zambians, Ivory Coast have been consistent and the majority of their stars still play at top level. This gives them a chance to win the 2013 AFCON cup. The Elephants have registered impressive wins on the road to 2013 AFCON cup in South Africa.

Goals scored during the elephants’ high-profile 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Senegal and in recent friendly game against Egypt show the strength in depth from the Ivory Coast side that has reached finals of AFCON cup on two occasions without winning the continent’s most prestigious soccer event.

They lost to Egypt in 2006 AFCON final game and fell to Zambia, last year, at the same stage of the competition. They still have same chance to reach the final stage of the competition with their stars in Yaya Toure, Didier drogba, and Didier Zokora still performing at top level.

The return of striker Aruna Kone to the Ivorian side will spearhead the elephants attack as he has been inform for the English premiership side Wigan Athletic this season. Ivory Coast is drawn in group D alongside Togo, Algeria and Tunisia.

Ghana is another buoyant side to mention in African football. They have a youthful squad with rich talent and experience.

Kwado Asamoah, plying his football in Italian champions Juventus, is among the top stars to watch in this tournament. He will inspire Ghana to greater heights at the 2013 AFCON.

They are in group B alongside Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger. Their opening game is against tricky Congolese side that has recalled most of its professional players for the tournament.

 

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