It’s been a cup of nations missing their big chances

2015-02-01 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The joint top scorers at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) – André Ayew (Ghana), Ahmed Akaïchi (Tunisia) and Thievy Bifouma (Congo) – have just two goals each so far.

That alone says it all about the tightness of the tournament, or perhaps strikers just failed to come to the party.

To say chances were not created would be far from the truth, as teams went all out to make openings – but they could not finish the chances that came their way.

This has been a tournament of missed opportunities, with South Africa’s Tokelo Rantie and Mali’s Seydou Keita having missed penalties.

Group D had to be decided by the drawing of lots to select who would join Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals because Mali and Guinea both finished on the same number of everything: goals scored, goals conceded and points.

The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations’ representatives, Bafana and Chipolopolo, created more chances than all the other teams, but scored five goals combined in their three games. And they paid the price, as both failed to advance to the knockout stages.

They have no one but themselves to blame for their misery. Bafana were their own worst enemy, particularly in their opening game loss against Algeria, which they should have won convincingly.

The same could be said of Zambia, as they fluffed their chances against Tunisia in their second game.

Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came to the tournament with high hopes of helping his country advance further, but the Borussia Dortmund striker could do nothing to prevent a first-round exit for his country.

After helping Burkina Faso to the final of the 2013 edition, Jonathan Pitroipa was a shadow of his former self, as he failed to reproduce the kind of performances that made him an instant hero two years ago.

It has been a tournament of draws – 13 of the 24 first-round matches ended in stalemates.

Cape Verde had to go home even though they did not lose any of their three games – but on the flip side, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which qualified as the best third-placed finishers, rode their luck from the qualifying rounds. They advanced on the back of having scored twice in the competition against one goal from Cape Verde.

It was all tears and heartbreak as some teams departed the tournament under bizarre circumstances.

The Cape Verde coach was left speechless by the manner in which they were knocked out – but conceded it was the nature of football.

Coach Rui Águas said: “What can I say? I’m very sad and disappointed with the result, but not the performance of my players. We missed a lot of chances in all three games. They [the players] gave 100%, but football is like this.

“Zambia and us were the best teams in this group and many expected us to go through. Three draws, no defeats, no wins. One goal makes a difference. Football is unfair and can be cruel sometimes.

“Unfortunately, it was our turn today.”

Hosts Equatorial Guinea celebrated their passage to the knockout stages as though they had won the World Cup. They had good reason to celebrate, as they came through as a last-minute replacement for Morocco, which had decided against hosting the event.

To make matters worse, their coach, Esteban Becker, was appointed a week or so before the start of the tournament and did well to take them to the last eight.

They were due to play Tunisia last night.

Gabon and Burkina Faso, with Zambia and Cape Verde, were the teams from the same qualifying groups to depart after the first round.

The two lowest-ranked teams in Group C, Senegal (5) and South Africa (10), were knocked out by number one-ranked Algeria and Ghana, which are fourth in the rankings.

Congo-Brazzaville were another surprise package of the tournament after also qualifying through the back door.

In the qualifiers, they had replaced Rwanda, which were disqualified after being found guilty of using an ineligible player. Congo-Brazzaville also happened to qualify for the finals as runners-up to South Africa. But then they successfully booked a place in the last eight.

The two Congos were due to meet last night.

Join the conversation! 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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.