Saturday, February 2, 2013

African Cup

African Cup

I love tournaments and there is a good one on right now. Egypt will always be considered one of the top favorites along with Ghana now.

The final 8 consists of South Africa the host, Mali Cote d Ivory, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Cape Verde.

The knockout stage

The host South Africa will face new comer Mail. South Africa has put a good team together for this tournament and do not want to disappoint the home fans. Mail was the nation that you could scoop gold out of the river with a pan. Now radical Muslims took over a huge portion of the barren land in the north. The French militaryh as been doing a sweep of the area to cleanse the area of these radicals. I will give the edge to South Africa in this match.

Cote d Ivory will take on Nigeria. I can still remember Nigeria in the World Cup USA making the knockout round. Nigeria has made the finals 6 times losing 4 and winning only 2. They seem to be snake bitten in the finals. The Cote d Ivory always has a great team. This is the clash of the perennial powers. I think that Cote d Ivory will advance. They reached the finals last years and lost in the shootout to Zambia.

New comer Burkina Faso will take on Togo. Burkina Faso was in a group consisting of 3 other past Champions. Zambia was the current champion. Nigeria is a perennial power and Ethiopia last won in 1957. They placed first in this group. I see them advancing here.

Ghana vs Cape Verde Ghana has an easy first round opponent. I see them advancing.
Nations Titles Years won

New CONCACAF members?

“Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and French Guyana reiterate their intention to become full Member Associations”

I think this will be good for CONCACAF to add these territories as full members. They would rise the bar in the Caribbean in international competition. The 2013 Gold Cup will be the 13th Gold Cup played. Martinique and Guadeloupe each have participated 3 times. This will mark the 4th time for Martinique. These 2 French territories have proven to provide steady and well organized teams during the Gold Cup. CONCACAF need more quality teams and these islands would greatly add to the World Cup qualifying tournament, Caribbean Cup games and as mentioned the Gold Cup.

If I were ranking the Caribbean both Martinique and Guadeloupe would be placed high.
1.      Jamaica
2.      Haiti
3.      Trinidad & Tobago
4.      Cuba
5.      Martinique
6.      Guadeloupe
7.      Antigua & Barbuda
8.      Dominican Republic
9.      Guyana
10.  Suriname
11.  Puerto Rico

Saint Martin and French Guyana (South America) would not place quality teams in CONCACAF. Saint Martin has under 40,000 inhabitants on their island. The island reminds me of Hispaniola. Hispaniola is split between Haiti and Dominican Republic. Saint Martin is split with the Dutch territory Sint Maarten. Maybe this population (island) could join Guadeloupe or Martinique as a joint addition. It just does not have the population or a quality team to field.
French Guyana is located in South America. This is another tiny French territory that has a population under 250,000. Over time they could produce a quality team to compete in the Caribbean but in CONCACAF is another idea.
All in all I believe we would get 2 good nations and two bad ones in terms of quality soccer teams. I believe we will still get either Martinique or Guadeloupe in the Gold Cup. Once the Gold cup expands to 16 we may see both nations.