Sat Oct 22 11:06:39 CAT 2016

Key men stand to dominate Afcon

By unknown | Jan 07, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

As the 26th Africa Cup of Nations draws nearer, who will dominate the tournament, and who will be the most talked-about player, are sources of interest.

Sowetan asked three men who have at some point been at the forefront of Bafana Bafana's various campaigns, since readmission in 1994.

Augusto Palacios, team manager at Burkina Faso and France '98, said:

"It is going to be very difficult, this one is hard to predict. The likes of Nigeria have not not been doing well, and so has the defending champions Egypt. They do have experience, though. But I see teams such as Cameroon and Senegal doing well. Angola can be a surprise package."

When asked if there is a player capable of dominating the tournament, Palacios said: "It's very difficult. As far as South Africa is concerned, we have the likes of Teko Modise and Sibusiso Zuma. If they perform the way we know they can, then they could leave a mark.

"But should Michael Essien and Didier Drogba fulfil their potential, people will always remember their names alongside this year's tournament."

Regarding the fact that no local players have managed to better Shaun Bartlett's five goals since Ghana/Nigeria 2000, he said: "I think Didier Drogba or Samuel Eto'o will do so."

Asked who the dominant team will be, Jomo Sono (who reached the finals of Afcon 1998 in Burkina Faso) said: "As a South African of course I have to say South Africa. But you cannot forget the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria.

"As you know, the last time we won was in 1996. We then reached the final in 1998. After that, it has all been downhill. But now we have players who are determined to do well.

"I do not think they enjoy being written off all the time, and will go out there to impress. We also have a very, very good coach in Carlos Alberto Parreira.

"In terms of players capable to steal the show, obviously the spotlight falls on those who are based overseas. The likes of Drogba, Kanu and Chelsea's Michael Essien come to mind. I also expect to see Samuel Eto'o, Nwanko Kanu and Didier Drogba excelling. They are more than capable of scoring those five goals and many more."

Trott Moloto (who reached the semifinals In Ghana/Nigeria in 2000 ) said: "For me, it cannot get any better than the hosts, Ghana. Not only did they do very well by getting further than any other African country at the last World Cup (into the second round), but they have home ground advantage.

"They also have a great team and all their players, except perhaps for captain Stephen Appiah, will be there. Their coach Claude le Roy is also good."


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT