THE RAT RACE IS ON its way for the 2013 African Cup of Nations, which will begin on Wednesday February 29, 2012 with 13 matches taking place all across Africa.
It is redemption time for the teams that did not make it to the 2012 tournament play-off. They get another chance to prove themselves, facing giant teams such as Cameroon and Nigeria.
The event was originally scheduled to be hosted by Libya, however, a decision by CAF to move the competition to South Africa, means Libya will not host. Libya won the right to host the tournament after defeating a Nigerian bid along with three other bid winning nations, Angola, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Bids from Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal were rejected and did not reach the shortlist. For the first time in CAF history, the hosts of three successive tournaments were chosen at the same time; Angola was chosen to host in 2010, Gabon/Equatorial Guinea were chosen as hosts for the 2012 Cup and South Africa for the 2013 edition.
The winners of the tournament will qualify for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil as the representative from CAF.
As far as the qualification games, Nigeria will be playing Rwanda; a chance for the Super Eagles to show their once thought about strength and confidence, after failing to reach the 2012 Nations Cup.
Same fate applies for the Cameroonians, who also did not qualified fo the 2012 Nations Cup. They are going to be facing Guinea-Bissau for the opening match on their pursuit for the 2013 Nations Cup. Don’t expect to see the Cameroonian super star Samuel Eto’o in the line up for the opening game as he is still serving his long ban. Similarly, there are many other payers that will also be absent due to the strike taken by the Cameroonian team last year.
Uganda will be facing Congo-Brazzaville. Zimbabwe will be facing Burundi.
In other matches, Ethiopia will be hosting Benin; Malawi will be traveling to Chad, where they conceded a last minute goal which cost them a spot in the 2012 Africa Nations Cup.
Tanzania will be hosting Mozambique; Cape Verde will be in Madagascar; Namibia will be playing in Liberia; Sierra Leone goes to Sao Tome and Seychelles will be hosting DR Congo.
What about the former champ Egypt? Let us remember that Egypt did not make it to the 2012 Nations Cup. Thus, they will have to compete, having their opening game against Central African Republic. The game was recently postponed due to the tragedy that happened in Port Said earlier this year.
Some Quick Facts about the African Cup of Nations:
- Throughout the history of the Nations Cup, three different trophies have been awarded to the winners of the competition.
- Egypt holds the records of Most wins (7 titles) since the inception of the tournament.
- Overall top goalscorer; Samuel Eto’o, with 18 goals total.
- Most tournament hosted: Egypt, 4 times.