Saturday, February 24, 2024

AFCON 2023: A New Football Order Unfolding In Africa

The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations has brought out some glaring revelations. The old order is fast changing as football super powers are now finding life very suffocating from hitherto lesser powers.

The first indication was when Nigeria’s Super Eagles were battled standstill by Equatorial Guinea, who before last Sunday had neither scored nor drawn a match with Nigeria.

Hours later, the most successful team in Africa Cup of Nations’ history and loaded to the hilt, Egypt had to escape to a draw, thanks to the late lottery of penalty kick.

Ghana Black Stars have been upstaged by Cape Verde who are making their fourth appearance as against the 102 of the four-time African champions and the team that won eternally, the original Africa Cup of Nations’ trophy.

Since, there have been more shocks. The biggest of which is the Tuesday’s decimation of Tunisia by Namibia who had hitherto went nine matches without a win. In recording their famous win against the 2004 champions, the Namibians ruined the milestone achievement of Tunisian ace, Youssef Msakni who played his 100th international match.

The talents of veteran Msakni combined with that of Ben Slimane could not inspire Tunisia to capitalise on their domination against the Namibian upstarts. Former champions, South Africa also got a dose of the bitter tablets from Mali as they lost an initial penalty kick and then conceded two goals within six minutes to go down 2-0.

With the flurry of upsets, which is the next big power to get the shock treatment?

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