The group stages of AFCON 2012 have come to a close with the quarter-finalists all booking their place in the knockout stages of Africa’s premier football tournament.
The quarter-finalists for this year’s tournament provide a mixed bag of skills with the overall AFCON winner, very difficult to call at this stage. For the first time since 1970, Sudan made it through to the quarter-finals stage of AFCON. The all-locally-based players that make up the Sudanese squad beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in their last Group B match to pick up four points and a spot in the knockout stages in Equatorial-Guinea and Gabon.
In the other last Group B match, Ivory Coast defeated Angola 2-0 in Malabo, Monday night to finish on top of group thanks to a first half strike from Emmanuel Eboue at the 33rd minute and a second half goal from Wilfried Bony at the 63rd minute. The Angolans failed to respond and saw themselves crashing out of the tournament after finishing on equal points with Sudan, but with an inferior goal difference. The quarter-finals pairs look like this thus far;
February 4th 2012
Zambia Vs Sudan
Ivory Coast Vs Equatorial Guinea
The tournament has also provided a spotlight on one particular talent, the teenage midfielder, Bertrand Traore of Burkina Faso, who took part in the Africa Cup of Nations at the tender age of 16. The teenager, who is currently on the books of Chelsea described the opportunity as “a dream come true” and he looks a real prospect for the future, should he remain at The Blues.
I’m hoping that now we’re in the knockout stages that attendance figures shoot up, so these guys can get the support they deserve for displaying some real quality football.