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Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS FINALS - DRAW & FIXTURES

Fans of African football the world over will be rubbing their hands in anticipation ahead of this year's Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in South Africa between 19/01/13-10/02/13. Sixteen teams will take part, and there are one or two others which are notable by their absence, among them Egypt, South Africa (neither of whom qualified for last year's tournament), Cameroon, Sudan, Guinea and both co-hosts from the 2012 tournament, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea; also missing after competing last time out are Libya and Botswana.

Back for the first time since 1982 are Ethiopia, who won the competition in 1962, and Cape Verde, who have been making rapid progress and knocking on the door of qualification for a major tournament for some years now, finally made it to the final stages of international competition after dramatically defeating Cameroon in the final play-off round of qualifying matches. Two teams made it through in dramatic circumstances; Burkina Faso defeated the Central African Republic 3:2 on aggregate thanks to a goal in the seventh minute of second-half injury-time from Alain Traoré, while the winners of last year's tournament, Zambia, only just squeaked through against Uganda 9:8 on penalties after each team had won their respective home game 1:0.

The CAR, who had never previously come close to qualifying for the final stages of any major tournament, appealed to the CAF to have the second-leg replayed, claiming that the injury-time was excessive, but to no avail; Uganda, meanwhile, have, like Cape Verde, been making good progress in recent years and can count themselves unlucky to have been eliminated. Will the CAR ever have a better chance of making it through to the final stages of either major international tournament?

Who will finish top of the tree this time round? Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana have to be considered as being the front-runners with Nigeria also well and truly in the hunt, whilst Zambia will struggle to repeat their heroics of twelve months ago and hosts South Africa (without Steven Pienaar, amongst others) have selected a youthful squad and will find it difficult to progress past the quarter-finals. Morocco, inconsistent as they are, could well spring a surprise; as usual, Tunisia will prove difficult opponents and could well go far. 

Please see below the draw and fixture-list for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

GROUP A

Angola, Cape Verde, Morocco, SOUTH AFRICA

19/01/13 18:00 South Africa : Cape Verde (Johannesburg)
19/01/13 21:00 Angola : Morocco (Johannesburg)
23/01/13 17:00 South Africa : Angola (Durban)
23/01/13 20:00 Morocco : Cape Verde (Durban)
27/01/13 19:00 Morocco : South Africa (Durban)
27/01/13 19:00 Cape Verde : Angola (Port Elizabeth)
 
GROUP B

DR Congo, Ghana, Mali, Niger

20/01/13 17:00 Ghana : DR Congo (Port Elizabeth)
20/01/13 20:00 Mali : Niger (Port Elizabeth)
24/01/13 17:00 Ghana : Mali (Port Elizabeth)
24/01/13 20:00 Niger : DR Congo (Port Elizabeth)
28/01/13 19:00 Niger : Ghana (Port Elizabeth)
28/01/13 19:00 DR Congo : Mali (Durban)
 
GROUP C

Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia

21/01/13 17:00 Zambia : Ethiopia (Nelspruit)
21/01/13 20:00 Nigeria : Burkina Faso (Nelspruit)
25/01/13 17:00 Zambia : Nigeria (Nelspruit)
25/01/13 20:00 Burkina Faso : Ethiopia (Nelspruit)
29/01/13 19:00 Burkina Faso : Zambia (Nelspruit)
29/01/13 19:00 Ethiopia : Nigeria (Rustenburg)

GROUP D

Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Tunisia

22/01/13 17:00 Côte d'Ivoire : Togo (Rustenburg)
22/01/12 20:00 Tunisia : Algeria (Rustenburg)
26/01/13 17:00 Côte d'Ivoire : Tunisia (Rustenburg)
26/01/13 20:00 Algeria : Togo (Rustenburg)
30/01/13 19:00 Algeria : Côte d'Ivoire (Rustenburg)
30/01/13 19:00 Togo : Tunisia (Nelspruit)

QUARTER-FINALS

02/02/13 17:00 QF1 Winner Gp B : Runner-up Gp A (Port Elizabeth)
02/02/13 20:30 QF2 Winner Gp A : Runner-up Gp B (Durban)
03/02/13 17:00 QF3 Winner Gp D : Runner-up Gp C (Rustenburg)
03/02/13 20:30 QF4 Winner Gp C : Runner-up Gp D (Nelspruit)

SEMI-FINALS

06/02/13 17:00 SF1 Winner QF2 : Winner QF3 (Durban)
06/02/13 20:30 SF2 Winner QF4 : Winner QF1(Nelspruit)

THIRD-PLACE MATCH

09/02/13 20:00 Loser SF1 : Loser SF2 (Port Elizabeth)

FINAL
10/02/13 20:00 Winner SF1 : Winner SF2
(Johannesburg)

NOTE: As last time out, the Africa Cup of Nations can be seen on Eurosport in those areas covered by the network across the globe; most of the games are advertised as being live on (British) Eurosport, together with highlights and the occasional game on (British) Eurosport 2. This will also ensure that Australian football fans will enjoy live coverage of the tournament. British television network ITV4 will be showing around twenty of the games live,  with all matches apparently being simulcast on the ITV football website. No Irish TV stations are covering the tournament. ESPN will be broadcasting coverage of every match (live or delayed) from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations; most will be shown on ESPN3, with both semi-finals and the final also being shown on ESPN Deportes. All kick-off times shown above are under local time.

LIST OF STADIA (capacities are approximate)

DURBAN: Moses Mabhida Stadium (54000)
JOHANNESBURG: FNB Stadium (94700)
NELSPRUIT: Mbombela Stadium (41000)
PORT ELIZABETH: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (48000)
RUSTENBURG: Royal Bafokeng Stadium (42000

2 comments:

  1. Morocco would be my pick too. Got a number of good players that ply their trade in France, such as Belhanda and usually have a good cohesive unit. They've even overlooked Taarabt.

    Ivory Coast have the standout squad, and it is really theirs to lose. Drogba will be looking to make amends for his penalty miss last year.

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  2. Pat's Football BlogJanuary 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Personally, I think that it is the Côte d'Ivoire's time; they have the best squad on paper and hopefully they will look more convincing than last time out, having played well in spurts.

    Having watched Ghana today, I'm still convinced they will do well, but they will have to be less profligate in front of goal. The DR Congo could also be dark horses, but we'll have more of an idea of their capabilities soon enough.

    As for Taarabt (Chamakh is another notable absentee), he is a microcosm of the Morocco team in general; on his day, he can be brilliant, but is, more often than not, infuriatingly inconsistent. Waiting for the North African disease to manifest itself at some stage during the tournament - nobody does time-wasting like Morocco and Egypt do (at least we're spared Egypt's histrionics this time).

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