Sports Features of Thursday, 17 January 2013
Nigeria dominate group C on paper but this is a very open group in reality. They are SIX-times AFCON finalists but have only won it twice. They have Chelsea team mates John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses in their 23 man squad as well as former Everton defender Joseph Yobo. Coach Stephen Keshi took over the 'Super Eagles' in 2011 after failing to qualify for the 2012 tournament. Keshi has implemented a mixture of young local talent to older experienced players to create the perfect mix which are hopeful to be crowned champions yet again.
Zambia are the current holders of the trophy after beating the Ivory Coast in a thrilling 8-7 penalty shoot-out win. They only just squeezed into the finals this year with yet another penalty shoot-out victory, this time being run to the wire by Uganda. Emmanuel Mayuka, 21, currently plays for Premier League outfit Southampton where he has made eight appearances, six coming off the bench. If they are to win concessive titles, he will have to shine.
Ethiopia and Burkina Faso make up Group C, hoping to make a name for themselves at the tournament. Neither side have any real AFCON pedigree of late, although Ethopia did win the title in 1962. Adane Girma of Ethiopia was the man who held his nerve in the last minute of a qualifier against Benin, with a penalty which bought their ticket to South Africa. Burkina's best result in this competition is fourth place back in 1998; they have an array of young talent that will be on show at the championships.