Yesterday the African Cup of Nations kicked off with the hosts Ghana taking on Guinea. From all accounts, the Black Stars were buzzing offensively, and could have won by a much larger margin than 2-1 if they hadn't hit so much woodwork. At the same time, their defensive frailties were also evidentt, led by West Ham's John Paintsil.
Today's slate of games is highlighted by Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria, which is starting right now. Drogba vs. half of Portsmouth. It might be the game of the tournament, and if you can catch this thing at a bar or something, I think its worthwhile. Earlier, Morocco beat Namibia 5-1.
And finally, we reach the end of the line in our ANC preview. Group D lacks the sizzle of the rest of the field, so you EPL snobs can skip over the rest now, if you wish.
Benny McCarthy was left in Northwest England, due to a fall out with Carlos Alberto Perreira , who decided to field a younger side with an eye towards the World Cup. I know nothing about the younger players, but they have some sweet names, like Excellent Walaza and Terror Fanteni. I'm expecting the future hosts to crash out in the first round.
Angola made it to Germany with a mostly domestic side, and the roster is more or less unchanged this time around. I remember the game they played against Portugal. They were a very physical team, with a bit of hardman-tackling thown in. Angola will make it out of the group.
These guys actually won the whole tournament four years ago, but they don't have much in terms of recognizable names.
The shock of the 2002 world cup was when Senegal took down France in the first game. El Hadji Diouf remains, but the key player for the Senegalese is Mamadou Niang, who has been killing it for Marseille this year. Fulham fans are happy to see the useless Diomansy Kamara has been called into the squad, along with Ibrahim Sonko from Reading. Senegal will win the group.