It's a tournament perhaps more striking for who isn't there than who is. Of the last nine winners, eight have failed to make it to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea for the 28th African Cup of Nations. There's no Egypt, derailed by the uprising against Hosni Mubarak; there's no South Africa, eliminated by its own stupidity; and there's no Cameroon or Nigeria, eventually worn down by years of confused and chaotic administration.
South Africa, which played for a draw in its final game when it needed a win to qualify, having failed to understand the criteria for qualification, take the prize for incompetence, but this Gotterdammerung has been coming for some time. For all the top players leaving Africa, and particularly West Africa, for Europe, the national game has been held back by inept and often corrupt leadership. This is the result. The question is whether those who have risen to replace the traditional giants are any better. Is this a case of a broadening of Africa's talent base, or of the sides who were once good sliding into mediocrity?
GROUP A: EQUATORIAL GUINEA, LIBYA, SENEGAL, ZAMBIA
Herve Renard has returned to take charge of a
GROUP B: CÔTE D'IVOIRE, ANGOLA, SUDAN, BURKINA FASO
The so called golden generation of
Still, Côte d'Ivoire should comfortably win a weak group. Lito Vidigal is
GROUP C: GABON, TUNISIA, MOROCCO, NIGER
GROUP D: GHANA, MALI, GUINEA, BOTSWANA