The 26th Africa Cup Of Nations

by Dexy Longshot

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

The prophecy according to Dexy

Right, first things first, I’ve just landed and it is hotter than my Mickey Mouse Rolex. I lost a stone just stepping of the plane, I even had to unbutton the sheepskin! But i’m here in Africa safe and sound and have been getting the low-down on this entire African Nations lark. Get your notebook and Nigel Benn out and get scribbling (well you do wanna make some wonga, don’t you?)

This is the 26th ACN and this year it is hosted by Ghana. There are 16 teams separated into 4 leagues of 4. The top 2 go through to the knockout stage, pretty much the same format as the Champs League with the Final on Sunday
Feb 10th.

Ghana might be in with a big shout if the two previous winners are anything to go on. Egypt won it last time out beating Ivory Coast on Penalties 4-2 in Egypt. Tunisia won it in 2004 on their own manor as well. I quite fancy a repeat of the last final with The Pharaohs and Elephants although Ghana will have a good chance. Let’s have a shifty at the individual groups.


Group A


With a group featuring the hosts and favourites, The Black Stars of Ghana, you’ll be giving away your money if you put anything on Morocco, Guinea or Namibia on winning the group. Ghana are head, shoulders, knees and toes above the other 3 and will whack in a shed load of goals in the process, especially against whipping boys Namibia. They tournament favourites at 9/10 and have a superb engine in midfield with the drive of Michael Essian and Sulley Muntari (King of the Long shots after my good self!). Fenebache’s influential Stephen Appiah is massive miss through injury but replacement Andre Ayew is no slouch if he gets a start. The Black Stars excelled at the last world cup sending home the Czechs and Yanks early doors. They have one of the most experienced mangers in Claude Le Roy who won it in 88 with Cameroon. Renne’s John Mensah is tidy in central defence and Asampah Gyan has 12 goals in just 25 games.


It’s a hard job going for group A runners up, Morocco should be favourites for the 2nd spot with Bordeaux star Marouane Chamakh pulling the strings up front. Guinea could spring a surprise though, they are a very skilful side and Claude Le Roy rates them highly.

Ghana will be looking to win their 5th ACN. They have participated in the tournament a record 7 times. They are around 4/1 with Ivory Coast joint faves. I can see them both fighting it out in the final although I fear Ghana’s loss of Stephen Appiah might be their downfall at the final hurdle.



Group B


The Group of Death, there is always one isn’t there. This time it features the dreaded Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali and lightweights Benin. This group offers the most Premiership interest with The Drog, Eboue, Zokora and both Toure brothers turning out for The Ivory Coast Elephants. Nigeria boast an experienced squad of Yobo, Obi Mikel, Etutu & attacking options presented by Martins, Kanu, Utaka and Yakubu. For Mali, Ex-Hammer & Totspur Kanoute leads the attack with Seville team-mate Seydou Keita & Real’s Mahamadou Diarra the midfield generals.

The Elephants are joint favourites with Ghana and it is easy to see why. After a decent showing at the last world cup, The Ivory Coast will want to improve on that for a number of reasons. Their German manger Uli Stielike as had to step down because his son is very ill with under 23 coach Gerard Gili stepping in, an added incentive to do well. The team oozes Premiership class from back to front. Eboue & Toure at the back with Abdoulaye Meite form the best back line in the competition and will be hard to penetrate. Tottenham star Zokora anchors in Midfield with Yaya Toure who has been playing well at Barca and off course, Didier Drogba up front. There are plenty of other quality players in the squad as well. Didi’s team-mate Salmon Kalou should partner the big man up front but keep the an eye out for Aruna Dindane of Lens, Kader Keita and Bakari Kone who all have goals in them. I cannot see anyone better than the Ivory Coast on paper and predict a repeat of the 1992 final against Ghana who beat the Black stars on penalties. Elephants never forget I didn’t forget to chuck a score on them at 4/1. Dindane is a good bet at 22/1. Go for the each way.


Berti Vogt’s Nigeria have an excellent squad but I don’t think they can match the Ivory Coast. The Super Eagles boast the best forward line in the tournament but unfortunately; they can’t all play at the same time unless Ze German picks 3-3-4. Martins & Kanu? Utaka & Yakubu? Decisions decisions! Berti has been training them up The German way but will it work, it didn’t for Scotland but then Scotland didn’t have this much talent. Nigeria have been disappointing in recent years, gone are the glory days of the late 90s where they reached the last 16 of the World Cup in France but maybe The Kraut has over ideas, never write them off. I think they will progress beyond the group stages but I can’t see them in the final.

Mali have a very skilful side with Kanoute up front turning in some brilliant performances for Seville over the past couple of seasons. The Eagles (yep another load of Eagles) are another dark horse who may give Nigeria a run for their money. They have a good pairing at the back with Sammy Traore & Adama Coulibaly of the French league bricking up the back. Diarra of Madrid and scouse want-away Sissoko will run things in the middle of the park while Keita will be teeing up the shots for Freddie. Don’t let the Mali boys pass you by; they are worth small wager at 22/1.

The Squirrels of Benin will try hard but will not have enough against the big boys, I’d be surprised if they win any games at all but at least they have a good nickname.



Group C


The current champions Egypt are my long shot tip for the top prize this year,
The Pharaohs are only 6th favourites after a mediocre qualifying campaign
but I think a lot of punters are under-estimating the 5 time winners
(an ACN record bye the bye). It doesn’t look like Mido will be starting but Egypt
are a strong all round unit and they have a mustard world class keeper in Al
Hadary. I’ll be plumping on the Pharaohs for an each way tickle. They are
still 19/1 to win the lot and I’ll be walking like an Egyptian if they
do It.

Hot on the sandals of Egypt will be the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Impressive name, shame they will be found wanting in the later stages. They
are getting on a bit now but Geremi, Rigobert Song, and a fit-again Eto
should be good enough to advance to the semis but I can’t see them getting
any further. They have a strong history of winning the trophy and need just
one more to match Egypt’s 5. They go 6/1 to win it but I’d go for them being
knocked out in the semi final where they will most likely be facing Drogbas


Of the remaining members of Group C, Sudan may spring the surprise where
there has been resurgence in recent years and Zambia caned South Africa in
the qualifiers so this may well be worth noting if you fancy a lump on a
dark horse group winner, only for the brave though.

I’ll be sticking on the pyramid makers and Roger Milla’s great grandsons to
go through to the next round.



Group D


This appears to be the most wide-open of the entire groups bit I can’t see past
Senegal as group winners and potential outright winning long shots. They are
14’s to win the ACN and if they turn it on, I think they have an excellent
chance of semi-final spot most likely against Ghana. They did the business
impressing 5 years ago at the 2002 World Cup and now have some top drawer
players. Habib Beye & Geordie boy Faye are in alongside the under-rated
Pape Bouba Diop of Portsmouth. Their player of the year Marmadou Niang who
has scored 10 goals in 17 for Marseille this season, he is pacy and will get
plenty of chances with The Lions of Teranga. He’s also a decent top
goal scorer bet at 14/1. Senegal are 9/1 to win the ACN outright.

Angola and South Africa will both want to turn it on for the cameras as they
will be hosts for the next ACN and World Cup 2010 respectively. Tunisia
cannot be written of either as they won the competition in 2004 in their own
back yard and I believe they will have enough to keep Angola and South
Africa at bay. I’m not so sure of them progressing past the quarters though.


So there it is. Let’s see if I’ll have enough profit to get me to London, I
sold my return ticket back home for a ticket for the final!

Dexy Longshot Egypt 19-1 to win


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  • Barry Blog

    Fantastic early reporting, wonder if the locals will see you as a hero after wrestling that sheep skin off of some natives flock. Keep up the good work and look forward to your next report.

  • Carl Christensen

    Fab article – really hit the spot having just got back from Western Africa.

    I have been watching the early rounds on Eurosport, and there are some seriously talented players playing. Some fabulous goals and some fabulous wild shots too.

    Special mention to Benin for being a country that is happy to be known as the Squirrels 🙂

  • Dexy

    Truesay, those Benin boys are the NUTS!!!!

  • Aslan

    Great article Dexy,

    Is it me or is the African Nations seen to be a joke. I mean with only 10/15% of the entire stadium filled up, it begs the question of wether or not enough quality is on show to encourage people to come out of the houses to watch the so called top 16 nations in the African continent.
    Watching Egypt the other day smashing Cameroon made for such great viewing for the neutral so why are theres so few neutrals attending? Personally I think its the timing of it all. I mean Imagine having a European championship mid-season where half the players rush off to the host country leaving teams to use it as an excuse for missing out on points and in Arsenal’s case a peice of silverware.

  • Felix Carrasco

    I think the final will be a 2-1 win for the Ivory Coast over Egypt and a quality tournament!

  • Jamie

    I’m thinking Ghana 1 Ivory Coast 0.

    Thats if they don’t meet in the final of course

  • http://none emmanuel

    I guess it as been fun and bad moment for some teams that started really well but flop up at the crucial time when much as been expected of them…I hope the two finalist will be Ivory Coast 1-Ghana 2.

  • Paul

    Ghana to win it on Pens against Ivory Coast

  • Jake

    Ivory Coast kick ass.

    The final will be Ivory Coast 2 Cameroon 1

  • Darren

    Cameroon will shock everyone by beating the Ivory Coast on pens in the final

  • Jamie

    I reckon Egypt vs Cameroon will be the final.

    Dexy knows best, I actually put a score on Egypt each way, so £120 coming my way!

    A right touch

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