Published On: Wed, Jan 30th, 2013

No Dance for Zambia

Chipolopolo celebrate the Nations Cup win in the last tournament with coach Hey.

Chipolopolo celebrate the Nations Cup win in the last tournament 2012, with coach Hey.

Zambia’s Chipolopolo, became only the second team in the history of the tournament to be eliminated in the group stages.  Zambia was held to a goalless draw by Burkina Faso who advanced alongside Nigeria who had lady luck shine on them in the match against a seemingly unlucky Ethiopia.

Two penalty goals converted in the second half by Chelsea international Victor Moses were all it took for the West Africans to breathe a sigh of relief after going through a harrowing first half which reflected the Super Eagles’ lucklustre performance in the tournament so far.

The North African quest ended on a sad note on Tuesday with the elimination of Morocco after drawing 2-2 with hosts South Africa in their final Group match.  Earlier Tunisia and Algeria, the other North African compatriots were eliminated in Group D finishing 3rd and 4th respectfully, with Cote D’Ivoire heading the group with 6 points followed by Togo.

There are no apparent fireworks in the Quarterfinals with all group leaders looking more likely to advance against their opponents.  The opening knockout stage games on 2nd Feb will see Ghana pitted against Cape Verde, who may have just lived out their Cinderella dream unless they can pull off a mighty upset, which is not rare in the tournament at this stage.

On the same day hosts South Africa tackle a not so confident Mali which finished second to Ghana in Group B. The Ivorian Elephants, now rated as favourites following their good showing in the preliminary stage, play Burkina Faso which struggled to advance in Group C finishing second behind Nigeria which was also not impressive at all.

The last quarter-final match also played on the 3rd Feb pits Nigeria against an unpredictable Togolese side which could spring the only surprise of the quarterfinals if they see off the Super Eagles.

I see Ghana, South Africa and Cote D’Ivoire in the semi-finals, but my jury is out on Nigeria making it past Togo if Adebayo strikes the form that saw him lift them in the group stages.

The tournament was held this year, a year after the last tournament, in order to regulate the tournament years into odd years.  Formerly the tournament has been held every two years thus clashing with the World Cup which is held in the even years.

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No Dance for Zambia
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