Africa’s biggest football tournament is back with us again, this time in an odd year, 2013. The African Cup of Nations, which was scheduled to be held in Libya, was moved to South Africa due to the Libyan civil war. This is about two years after the same country hosted the biggest football tournament in the World. The tournament will take place from January 19th – February 10th. The first game will kick off at 5pm Kenyan time with the hosts South Africa taking on new kids Cape Verde.
Sixteen teams, one trophy: who will take it home this time?
2013 continent’s best
Why is the tournament one year after last one?The participants of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations are: host South Africa, defending champions Zambia, Angola, Morocco, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Congo DR, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Algeria, Togo.
The tournament’s cycle was shifted from even years to odd years so as to avoid the Nations Cup falling on a World Cup year and also for reasons arising from that old problem of club versus country rows.
Big names missing again!
Just like the last tournament, the 29th African Cup of Nation is missing some big names, including the two most successful teams in the tournament, Cameroon and Egypt but also absent is Senegal. As a result the likes of Samuel Eto of Cameroon and Premier League star Demba Ba of Senegal will be missing in action.
Kenya misses again
It is saddening to Kenyans that they will be forced to support another African team again, or just enjoy the tournament, minus the Harambee Stars as the national team failed to qualify again due to a poor run in the qualifiers.
All is not lost though!
Kenya may not be participating in the tournament but at least it will be represented by a referee.
Sylvester Kirwa is the first ever Kenyan referee to gets to blow a whistle at the prestigious tournament. Kirwa, whose hope is to officiate the World Cup one day, says that this is a sign that Kenyan football has grown and that Confederation of African Football (the tournament organizers) rate the local league and its referees highly.
Something for the ladies
This year someone was kind enough to consider the ladies so as not to be left out, by coming up with a list of “top 10 sexiest players at Afcon 2013”
Pick your favorites
If the last African Cup of Nations is anything to go by, it will be hard to pick a favorite to take the trophy as even the so called big teams are prone to be outshone and ejected from the tournament but the Ivory Coast, Ghana and the defending champions Zambia would be considered as the favorites to win the title.