Monday, January 14, 2008

African Cup of Nations Group B Preview

While home fans will be focused on the exploits of the Black Stars in Group A, this is probably the "Group of Death." You have Nigeria, the traditional giants of African football who have fallen on hard times lately, and Ivory Coast, the pretenders to the the throne, along with a respectable Mali side and Benin. So lets get on with part II of our endless ANC preview, mostly thieved from elsewhere on the interwebs, and full of uninformed speculation.

Key players: Obafemi Martins, John Obi Mikel, Kanu, John Utaka, Yakubo

The Super Eagles are stacked in attack, but perhaps a bit suspect in the back. Danny Shittu, anyone? And apparently Berti Vogts is going to go with a midfield that may not actually contain any, you know, midfielders. Given the amount of, um, strong personalities on this team, and the unbalanced selection, it wouldn't be surprising to see Nigeria bounced early, but the smart money says they at least get out of the group.

Ivory Coast
Key players: Drogba, Drogba, Drogba, Drogba, Drogba, Drogba

The Elephants were one of the most impressive teams at the last World Cup, even though they failed to make it out of the group stage. Didier Drogba, if he is actually healthy, is perhaps the best striker in the world, and that is coming from an Arsenal fan who regards him as a cheating shitbag most times. But he is fun to watch when he is on form. Ivory Coast is solid in the back with half of Wenger's preferred defenders in Kolo Toure and Emannuel Eboue, as well as Meite from Bolton. Like Nigeria, they are perhaps a bit short on traditional midfielders, but look for Aruna Dindane, currently at Lens, to have a big tournament and attract some transfer speculation. My pick to upset the hosts and hoist the trophy.

Key players: Momo Sissoko, Mahamadou Diarra, Fredick Kanoute

With some solid talent playing in Spain, this is a team that could surprise a few people. Keita, who has been instrumental in Sevilla's season so far is a player to watch, while Kanoute should supply the firepower up front. I have literally never even heard of any of the defenders, so I can't really comment, but they mostly play in France so I'm sure they are at least decent. P.S. - FSC should totally get French soccer back, even if just for the Lyon games.

Key players: Some dude who plays for the best named team in English football, Acrrington Stanley.

This team is definitely the minnow of the group, with only (by my idiot count) four players who ply their trade in Europe. They also have a guy from Etoile Sahel, the Tunisian side that Christopher Sullivan couldn't stop slobbering over during the World Club Championships in December.


The NY Kid said...

Traore (the one from Nice, not the other 3) could be a nice suprise. Doesn't start at Nice, hasn't seen too much action yet, but he is still young and big things are expected of him (cue Aaron Lennon flashbacks).

The Fan's Attic said...

the ACN logo looks like a boot with a ball under the arch back by the heel.