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afcon awards

By unknown | Feb 18, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

So the 26th Africa Cup of Nations is done and dusted, with Egypt winning their sixth title.

So the 26th Africa Cup of Nations is done and dusted, with Egypt winning their sixth title.

It has been a tremendous competition, despite a few organisational shortcomings.

Below are my own awards to recognise the highs and lows of Ghana 2008, feel free to agree or disagree!

Player of the tournament:

Egypt are not a one-man team by any stretch of the imagination but it is doubtful whether the Pharaohs would have won without Mohamed Aboutrika. Dynamic and stylish, the "Magician" popped up everywhere opposition players did not want him to be. I was delighted to see him score the goal that settled the final against Cameroon;

l Most disappointing player of the tournament:

I arrived in Ghana with the firm belief that Nigeria's John Mikel Obi would set this Nations Cup alight and establish himself as the new Jay-Jay Okocha. How wrong I was! The Chelsea man was anonymous in the group campaign and abysmal in that quarterfinal defeat to Ghana;

l Match of the tournament:

For me, the quarterfinal tie between Tunisia and Cameroon was the most gripping match of the tournament. The teams took it in turn to attack in waves and the result was a five-goal contest of high quality. It was exhilarating stuff. Both sides were absolutely terrific on the ball and what a pity someone had to lose;

l Worst match of the tournament:

The goalless draw between Nigeria and Mali in Group B was so bad it almost put half of those in the Sekondi sports stadium to sleep. The Nigerians were dreadful while Mali could not rouse themselves to go for a win; mind-numbing stuff that simply tested the endurance of a disappointed crowd.

l Goal of the tournament:

There are many contenders but Sulley Muntari's strike against Guinea stands out for me. The Ghana midfielder's last-gasp missile got the tournament off to a cracking start - one of those "how did he hit that?" goals;

l Team that impressed (other than the winners):

Angola. The Palancas Negras proved that they really are a rising force in African football, and were certainly not disgraced in their quarterfinal defeat to Egypt. I expect greater things from them on home soil in 2010. Oh, and another thing, watch out for that Manucho!;

l Most disappointing team of the tournament:

After serving up successive horror shows in their group campaign, Nigeria put us out of our misery by losing to Ghana in the quarterfinals. How can a nation with some of the most talented footballers on the continent offer so little on the big stage?;

l Best fans:

The Ghana fans in full voice during the quarterfinal clash with their great rivals Nigeria were a sight to behold. They certainly did themselves proud with their passionate and often fanatical support for the Black Stars, and I rate them the best fans of the tournament by a country mile;

l Comical moment:

Not an awful lot of moments to make one chuckle in this Nations Cup, but it was hilarious to see Cameroon coach Otto Pfister pacing up and down his technical area looking like a man who had just lost his car keys;

l One thing I would change about the tournament:

Does the Afcon need to be a biennial event? With the modern football calendar so congested, the last thing players need is a big tournament every two years, so I would bring in a four-year cycle with immediate effect. - BBC


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