So, the Africa Cup of Nations aka AFCON begins on the 17th of January, 2015 and with the reigning champion Nigeria failing to qualify, the race is wide open!
Normally, ms_geekette does the AFCON posts for us, but I thought it'd be good to brief everyone on the groups and fixtures and stuff.
So here are the groups for the AFCON:
The group matches run from the 17th of Jan, 2015 to the 28th of Jan, 2015. The first match of the AFCON 2015 is between Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
The quarter finals will be held on January 31, 2015 and February 1, 2015.
The semi-finals will be held on February 4, 2015 and February 5, 2015.
The 3rd place playoff will be on February 7th, 2015.
And lastly, the final will be on February 8th, 2015.
A full schedule of the group matches can be found: HERE
The official ball of the tournament is the Adidas Marhaba. The word Marhaba means Hello or Welcome in Arabic.
The venues for the matches are:
Bata - Estadio de Bata
Malabo - Nuevo Estadio de Malabo
Mongomo - Estadio de Mongomo
Ebebiyín - Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyín
The squads for the teams have been announced. With the exception of Ivory Coast, Guinea, Gabon, DR Congo and Equatorial Guinea, Wikipedia has the full squad lists for the countries: HERE
Some squad news:
- Manuel Pellegrini is upset that Yaya Toure will be taking off time for the AFCON.
- In-form Demba Ba has been left out of the Senegal squad.
- Alex Song (understandably) has been left out of the Cameroon squad.
- Nabil Bentaleb is sad to leave the Spurs for the AFCON and understands that he will have to fight for his starting position when he returns. Also, he'll be missing the semi-final legs of the League Cup against Sheffield.
- Gabon hope to rely on Pierre Emerick Aubameyang for their AFCON journey (le sigh).
Here's a list of the broadcasters for the AFCON (taken from Wikipedia):
And finally, the CAF has released its shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year. The nominees are:
Vincent Enyeama (Lille/Nigeria)
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
Yaya Toure (Manchester City/Cote D'Ivoire)
The AFCON website has all the necessary information in case you need to know more.