After a long two years wait, the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 has begun today with display and two crackers at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville, Gabon.
It will be a gathering of Africa’s best footballers who will strike it out for three weeks to see who will get the Afcon cup 2017.There will be a lot of focus on defending champion Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Egypt but the hosts Gabon and a few other countries will look to upset the odds and lift the trophy.
The tournament has begun with the first game between the host Gabon and Guinea-Bissau.
Gabon was quarterfinalists in 2012 when they co-hosted the tournament with Guinea and will hope to go further and claim a first ever continental title on home soil.Jose Antonio Camacho is the new coach who will be the man to lead Gabon this time.
Burkina Faso and Cameroon will go head to head in the second match of the tournament.Cameroon has underachieved of late and hasn’t won the tournament since 2002 in Mali. Burkina Faso was in the final in 2013 but lost the trophy to Nigeria in an energetic final where a Sunday Mba single strike made the difference between the two sides.
Cameroon was hit with a wave of withdrawals before the final 23-man list was submitted to Caf. Seven players on the initial 35-man provisional squad pulled out citing different reasons. Liverpool defender Joel Matip, West Brom’s Nyom, Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Andre Onana, Andre Zambo Anguissa from Olympique Marseille, Guy Roland NdyAssembe of Nancy, Maxime Poundje of Bordeaux and Ibrahim Amadou from Lille all withdrew from the team. It got worse when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting retired from international football. However, that disappointment might turn out to be a lucky thing as it has given other players a chance to show what they can do.
Burkina Faso has no such issues and will be hoping to go one more which they did in 2013 when they reached the final. Now coached by the Portuguese Paulo Jorge Duarte, the Stallions will launch another assault on the Afcon title with almost the same squad from four years ago.
Veteran striker Aristide Bance will once again lead the line for the Etalons who come into the tournament with a mingle of youth and experience. Bakary Kone will be the main man in defense while Charles Kabore will provide strengthen in the middle with the exciting Bertrand Traore pulling the strings to feed Bance and Diawara up front.