World Cup-bound teams show little aplomb

2010-01-23 00:00

BENGUELA (Angola) — All five of Africa’s World Cup-bound teams have made it through to the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup, but few with any aplomb.

Cameroon were the last of the quintet to qualify for the last eight, sneaking through on Thursday by the margin of one goal only after a close-run finish in Group D.

Four of the five — Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria — lost their opening game at the tournament and were forced to come from behind to finish among the top two in their respective groups.

Ivory Coast are the only one of the teams heading to the World Cup finals in South Africa later this year who have not been beaten at the tournament. But they have played just two matches in Angola because of the withdrawal of Togo before the tournament started, being held to a goalless draw by Burkina Faso before beating Ghana.

Algeria qualified for the last eight on the back of a goal by defender Rafik Halliche when they beat Mali in their second Group A match.

The north Africans started with a shock 3-0 loss to Malawi and qualified on the back of an unconvincing goalless draw with hosts Angola.

But Algeria, who will have England among their group opponents at the World Cup, insist they have overcome their stuttering start.

“The conditions have been difficult but we’ve kept working. We’ve been improving match by match,” coach Rabah Saadane said.

Cameroon only made it by virtue of having scored one more goal than Gabon in a count-back after a three-way tie at the head of their group.

“The players must be commended,” said coach Paul LeGuen after Cameroon twice came from behind on Thursday to draw 2-2 with Tunisia.

Ghana had to wait almost a week before they started their campaign, losing 3-1 to the Ivorians in Cabinda.

They then lost captain Michael Essien with a knee injury before sneaking through 1-0 over Burkina Faso in their last Group B game.

Nigeria were thoroughly outplayed by Egypt in their opening game but still finished second after next beating Benin and Mozambique.

Egypt, who are seeking an unprecedented third successive Nations Cup title, have overshadowed the World Cup-bound teams and will start the quarter-finals as favourites to retain their title.

Hosts Angola take on Ghana in the first quarter-final in Luanda tomorrow, followed by the meeting in Cabinda between the Ivorians and Algeria.

On Monday, Egypt take on Cameroon in Benguela and Zambia play Nigeria in Lubango.

The semi-finals will be played next Thursday with the final in Luanda on January 31. — Reuters.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.