Thursday, January 17, 2008

African Cup of Nations: Group C

It's only a few more days until the African Cup of Nations or the African Cup or the National African Cup starts up! To help you keep your Pantsils from bunching up, here's a rundown of the teams that comprise Group C:

Key Players: Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona), Geremi (Newcastle), Alex Song (Arsenal), Carlos Idriss Kameni (Espanyol), Andre Bikey (Reading)

On paper, Cameroon have one of the strongest squads at the African Cup, with quite a number of famous players from the English Premier League (no, not you, Alex Song). And then there is the very-well-known striker for Barcelona whose name is Eto'o and who was recently given a special exemption to play a couple more league games before traveling to join the Indomitable Lions. Eto'o is healthy for once. So, the question is whether Cameroon can come together in time to punt the ball up to Eto'o and hope that he creates a decent amount of goals. Just guessing that'll be their strategy.

As the World Cup Blog has pointed out, Cameroon's new coach Otto Pfister was famous for some interesting fashion choices and/or appearing drunk in public when he was in charge of Togo at the 2006 World Cup. Will Pfister stay sober long enough to guide the Indomitable Lions deep into the tournament? As for the knockout stage, Cameroon will have something extra to play for against Egypt, who were responsible for keeping Cameroon out of the last World Cup.

Key Players: Mido (Middlesbrough), Hossam Ghaly (Derby), Mohamed Barakat (Al-Ahly), Ahmed Hassan (Anderlecht) and a bunch of players from the Egyptian League

Defending champs Egypt don't have a lot of players who you've heard of. Nevertheless, they've won the African Cup of Nations five times, most recently as the host nation in 2006. The Pharaohs will be without the injured Mido and Hossam Ghaly, who needs to concentrate on being a member of Derby County FC (it takes a lot of concentration to be utterly useless). Instead, Egypt will be returning with twelve players from their 2006 champion squad, including Ahmed Hassan, who will be playing in his record-tying seventh African Cup.

A definite underdog to make it past Cameroon and Egypt. Things are bad for Zambia, whose national television station failed to come up with the requisite money to show the African National Cup. And you thought that Direct TV, MLB TV and Setanta were evil monopolies? Tragedy has actually long been a part of Zambian football. Members of the national team were killed in a plane crash in 1993, with family members having to wait almost a decade for answers on what happened.

It's okay, Zambia. You still have Victoria Falls, which I remember from geography class is the largest waterfall in the world.

Although Sudan was one of the teams in the inaugural African Nations Cup and were champions in 1970, this is the first year that the Desert Hawks have qualified since the 1970s. All of Sudan's players come from the Sudanese League and, uh, sorry, but I'm not going to pretend that I have anything else to say on the subject.

Coming soon, last but not least, it's Group D!

1 comment:

The Fan's Attic said...

Sudanese League? I suppose there are no members of the Sudan Liberation Movement in that league or this team.