Archive | February 8, 2015

Cote d’Ivoire wins AFCON 2015….

Ivory Coast players

Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the decisive goal as Ivory Coast ended a 23-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought by winning 9-8 on penalties against Ghana after the final ended 0-0 following extra time, Supersport reports. History repeated itself as the only other Ivorian title came in 1992 when they edged the Ghanaians, also on penalties after a goalless draw. It was a highly tactical and cagey climax to the biennial African football showpiece in the Equatorial Guinea city of Bata. Billed as a ‘dream’ final between the west African neighbours, it became the fourth decider in the last eight to finish goalless and be settled by spot-kicks. Ivory Coast and Ghana made one change each from the teams that started in convincing semifinal victories over the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea respectively. Ghana captain and star striker Asamoah Gyan passed a late fitness test on his injured hip and returned in place of semifinal scorer Jordan Ayew, a son of Black Stars legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew. Ivory Coast switched goalkeepers with fit-again veteran Boubacar Barry recalled and Sylvain Gbohouo dropping to the bench after five consecutive appearances. Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang, Fifa president Sepp Blatter and CAF president Issa Hayatou were introduced to the teams before the national anthems. The pre-kickoff mood was extremely jovial with rival players warmly greeting each other as they went through the traditional shaking of hands. Quicksilver Ivory Coast winger Gervinho appeared particularly relaxed and threatened twice in the early stages as Ivory Coast were quicker out of the blocks. However, Ghana comfortably dealt with both threats and when African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure had a free-kick opportunity outside the box on 14 minutes, he shot tamely at Razak Braimah. Almost immediately, Ivorian midfield enforcer Serey Die was deservedly yellow-carded by the Gambian referee for a studs-up foul on Mubarak Wakaso. Sloppy Ghanaian passing close to their goalmouth offered Gervinho a chance to present Max-Alain Gradel with a sight of goal, but his powerful shot finished well off target. After soaking up the early pressure, Ghana adopted a more adventurous approach and came tantalisingly close to taking the lead on 25 minutes through Christian Atsu. The pacey winger won possession just outside the box and his swerving shot eluded the diving Barry only to rebound to safety off the post. Ivory Coast were rescued by the woodwork again nine minutes before halftime when Andre Ayew – an elder brother of Jordan – hit the other post from an acute angle. The opening half finished goalless with Ghana enjoying 55 percent possession and feeling positive having come closer to scoring than Ivory Coast. An early second-half run by Atsu offered Gyan a half-chance, but the talismanic figure did not come close to troubling Barry with a disappointing off-target effort. Another Ivorian was yellow carded before the hour with Siaka Tiene joining fellow midfielder Die in the book for pulling back Atsu. As the game reached the three-quarter mark, Ivory Coast made the first change with recent Roma signing Seydou Doumbia coming off the bench to replace the ineffective Gradel. While there were moments of anxiety for both defences, clearcut chances remained elusive and the game predictably drifted into extra-time. Ghana finally made a substitution on 99 minutes with Jordan Ayew, whose penalty goal set up the semifinal romp over Equatorial Guinea, taking the place of Kwesi Appiah. The pattern of half-chances continued in extra-time, but despite the presence of star African strikers like Gyan and Ivorian Wilfried Bony, the scoreboard operator remained unemployed until the shootout.

AFCON Memories: Past Winners….

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YEAR HOST CHAMPION 2ND PLACE 3RD PLACE
1957 Sudan Egypt Ethiopia Sudan
1959 Egypt Egypt Sudan Ethiopia
1962 Ethiopia Ethiopia Egypt Tunisia
1963 Ghana Ghana Sudan Egypt
1965 Tunisia Ghana Tunisia Cote d’Ivoire
1968 Ethiopia DR Congo Ghana Cote d’Ivoire
1970 Sudan Sudan Ghana Egypt
1972 Cameroon Congo Mali Cameroon
1974 Egypt DR Congo Zambia Egypt
1976 Ethiopia Morocco Guinea Nigeria
1978 Ghana Ghana Uganda Nigeria
1980 Nigeria Nigeria Algeria Morocco
1982 Libya Ghana Libya Zambia
1984 Cote d’Ivoire Cameroon Nigeria Algeria
1986 Egypt Egypt Cameroon Cote d’Ivoire
1988 Morocco Cameroon Nigeria Algeria
1990 Algeria Algeria Nigeria Zambia
1992 Senegal Cote d’Ivoire Ghana Nigeria
1994 Tunisia Nigeria Zambia Cote d’Ivoire
1996 South Africa South Africa Tunisia Zambia
1998 Burkina Faso Egypt South Africa DR Congo
2000 Ghana / Nigeria Cameroon Nigeria South Africa
2002 Mali Cameroon Senegal Nigeria
2004 Tunisia Tunisia Morocco Nigeria
2006 Egypt Egypt Cote d’Ivoire Nigeria
2008 Ghana Egypt Cameroon Ghana
2010 Angola Egypt Ghana Nigeria
2012 Gabon / Equatorial Guinea Zambia Cote d’Ivoire Mali
2013 South Africa Nigeria Burkina Faso Mali
2015 Equatorial Guinea Cote d’Ivoire Ghana DR Congo

AFCON Memories: Brief History….

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As we await the new African Champions to be crowned tonight, let’s look briefly at how it all started and the previous winners. The Africa Cup of Nations, officially CAN (French: Coupe d’Afrique des Nations), also referred to as African Cup of Nations, or AFCON, is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been held every two years. The title holders at the time of a FIFA Confederations Cup qualify for that competition. In 1957 there were only three participating nations: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. South Africa was originally scheduled to compete, but were disqualified due to the apartheid policies of the government then in power. Since then, the tournament has grown greatly, making it necessary to hold a qualifying tournament. The number of participants in the final tournament reached 16 in 1998 (16 teams were to compete in 1996 but Nigeria withdrew, reducing the field to 15), and since then, the format has been unchanged, with the sixteen teams being drawn into four groups of four teams each, with the top two teams of each group advancing to a “knock-out” stage. Egypt is the most successful nation in the cup’s history, winning the tournament a record of seven times (including when Egypt was known as the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1971). Ghana and Cameroon have won four titles each. Nigeria has won three titles. Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history, with Ghana and Cameroon winning the first two versions to keep after each of them won a tournament three times. The current trophy was first awarded in 2002 and with Egypt winning it indefinitely after winning their unprecedented third consecutive title in 2010. As of 2013, the tournament was switched to being held in odd-numbered years so as not to clash with the FIFA World Cup. Credit = Wikipedia.