It began in terror and ended in outrage. When history comes to judge the 2010 African Cup of
Nations I imagine it will not do so too kindly - a tournament which promised so much but, thanks to
a fatal mixture of politics, terror and head-bangingly insensitive executive decisions, became less
about the spectacle on the pitch and more about affairs off it.
As the dust settles on the 2010 African Cup of Nations, Essam El-Hadary climbs down from his
crossbar celebrating and Egypt put their trophy back in the cabinet, it is time for me to name my
Best XI of the tournament. This year is slightly different to the last Cup of Nations. In Ghana I
had to pick a team of the tournament and a second team, such was the plethora of top quality
performers in 2008.
Ghana 0-1 Egypt
African Cup of Nations 2010 Final
Scorer: Gedo '85
And in the end, Egypt win.
It is turning into a bit of a running theme at the African Cup of Nations now isn't it? 3 weeks, a
lot of buildup, lots of hyping up other teams and then, when all is said and done, Egypt take home
Algeria 0-4 Egypt
African Cup of Nations semi final
Goals: Hosni 38', Zidan 65', Abdelshafi 80', Gedo 90'
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Sometimes football can throw up the most appropriate of metaphors. A red rag to a bull almost
couldn't describe Egypt's 4-0 thrashing of Algeria any better, from the suave matador-like
performance of the holders to the mad angry rage of the Algerians.
Ghana 1-0 Nigeria
African Cup of Nations 2010 Semi Final
Goal: Asamoah Gyan 21'
This West African derby offered Nigeria a real chance to exact revenge for their 2-1 quarter final
defeat against neighbours and rivals Ghana at AFCON 2008. But once again, the Super Eagles failed
when it mattered.
As the African Cup of Nations 2010 reaches the semi finals stage I thought we might revive an
interesting feature that we ran for the 2008 tournament in Ghana on Just Football, namely
Goalwatch. Its an oldie but a goodie, in which we tracked every goalscorer as well as the domestic
league they play in, in order to bring you a list of the leagues that contribute most to African
Cup of Nations success.
The animosity and ill-feeling between these two teams in the buildup to the game ensures that this
should be an intriguing contest. The Ghanaian FA recently launched a complaint to CAF about their
hosts, citing Angola's "harassment and intimidation tactics". The Black Stars complained about an
attack on a Ghanaian journalist at the team hotel in Luanda, a reported assault on a fan last
Tuesday, and the setting up of a 24-hour surveillance unit transmitting live from the team's hotel
by an outside broadcast van.
Got your thinking cap on? Good. You're going to need it to work out the intricacies of Group D,
which ended up about as complicated as a Matrix sequel, but far more entertaining. We'll start off
with the basics.
Thierry Henry has escaped any kind of censure from FIFA over the handball
incident against Ireland last year, in much the same way as Diego Maradona did in
1986. The statement that FIFA issued is interesting though the bold text has been added by us:
"On 2 December 2009, the FIFA Executive Committee asked the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to
analyse the handling offence committed by Thierry Henry during the France v.
Sometimes one goal is all it takes. Algeria only scored one goal in three games in Group A of the
African Cup of Nations 2010. But it was enough to see the Desert Foxes through thanks to their
head-to-head record with Mali. Algeria go through to the quarter finals.
The hosts managed to blow a four goal lead in fifteen minutesÂ to shareÂ a point with Mali;
Angola were leading 4-1 with two minutes left, then Freddy Kanoute(Sevilla),Sadou Keita(Barcelona)Â and Mustapha
Yatabare(Clermont Foot Auvergne 63Â in France's Ligue 2)Â scored to level the
game, with the last two goals coming in four minutes of injury time.
FIFA's latest world rankings were released in December 2009, with the next assessment due at the
start of February, just after the African Cup of Nations is due to end. So with the tournament
about to get underway, how do the teams involved fare? The number on the left represents the
nations' standing within Africa, the number in brackets their overall world ranking.
The African Cup of Nations 2010 begins today. Though the competition was shrouded under a blanket
of tragedy before the opening ceremonies have even been performed due to events in Cabinda, there
is still a three-week tournament ahead of us that, we hope, brings entertainment and joy to the
people of Angola, the people of Africa and to people watching all over the world.
Following the ambush of the Togo national team bus on it's way to Cabinda for the African Cup of
Nations 2010, I wrote a preliminary piece on Just Football with some of the main issues that needed
addressing. Reports were hazy at the time and as the hours have passed further details are
beginning to emerge.
There still appears to beÂ some confusion over the death toll, but it seems likely that as well
as the un-named Angolan bus driver, assistant coach Abalo Amalete, press officer
Stanislas Ocloo and reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale were
either killed during the attack or died of their injuries afterwards.
So on the eve of the African Cup of Nations 2010, African football's jewel in the crown, tragedy
strikes. As was reported earlier, the Togo national team bus was ambushed by gunmen and shot at on
it's way from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the team's base in Cabinda, where they were due
to play their Group B Cup of Nations matches.
The Cup of Nations all-time top scorer - but can Eto'o add more silverware to the collection in
With the African Cup of Nations 2010 now but a few days away we turn our attentions to the final
group preview, Group D:
Cameroon - Gabon - Tunisia - Zambia
Alongside Cote d'Ivoire Cameroon probably have the most talented squad in Africa, yet until Paul Le
Guen took over as coach in July 2009 the Indomitable Lions were in real jeopardy of missing out on
World Cup 2010 altogether.
The mighty Egypt - but all is not well with the champions...
Benin - Egypt - Mozambique - Nigeria
Ever since Benin qualified for the Under-20 World Cup back in 2005, the national team has been on a
steady upward spiral. Back then The Squirrels were ranked 125th in the world and had only ever
qualified for one African Cup of Nations in which they fell at the group stage.
Party time - but Ivory Coast have something to prove
Burkina Faso - CÃ´te d'Ivoire - Ghana - Togo
Burkina Faso must be getting sick of the sight of CÃ´te d'Ivoire. Despite an excellent run in World
Cup 2010 qualifying it was always going to be difficult to sneak into their group's top spot for
South Africa ahead of Didier Drogba and co.
Can host nation Angola emerge from a tricky group?
The tournament preview is up, you've seen the African Cup of Nations 2010 match schedule, now let's
crack onto the group previews. Here is our team-by-team guide to the competition, which kicks off
in Angola this weekend.
Algeria - Angola - Malawi - Mali
Algeria is a country that has been sat until recently in the shadows of international wilderness.
You might notice the cheeky slight change to our weekly stadium feature's name we've pluralised
it as we are looking at more than one this week.Â We feature the renderings for the four new,
impressive stadiums being built in Angola for the African Cup of Nations 2010, to be held in
Luanda Capacity: 40,000 Stadium name: EstÃ¡dio Cidade UniversitÃ¡ria
Rendering of EstÃ¡dio Cidade UniversitÃ¡ria, Luanda's stadium under construction for the 2010
African Cup of Nations