LIBREVILLE – A NEW Africa Cup of Nations champion will be crowned this weekend at the Stade d’Angondje in Libreville, Gabon on Sunday after Ivory Coast tamely surrendered their title.
Initially tipped as favourites, The Elephants have failed to progress out of the group phase, becoming the biggest casualties to be knocked out early. A 1-0 loss to Morocco ended their tournament, and Michel Dussuyer’s spell as coach.
In their absence, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana will battle it out for the biggest crown in African football.
Perennial favourites, but constant underachievers, Ghana’s Black Stars, who edged Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 2-1 in the quarterfinals, will square up with old rivals Cameroon for a place in the final.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon booked the semifinal berth following a dramatic and memorable 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Senegal, the
continent’s highest ranked team that had also been tipped for the crown.
The sides finished goalless after extra time.
The Cameroon Senegal match is set for Thursday at the Stade de Franceville on Thursday.
A day earlier, The Stallions of Burkina Faso will battle Egypt in a repeat of the 1998 semifinal that The Pharaohs won 2-0 en-route to claiming the
Essam El-Hadary, the Egypt goalkeeper, is the only member of the sides still active.
He has been a revelation at this year’s tournament in Gabon and holds the record as the oldest player (44) to play in the competition.
The veteran played a crucial role as Egypt downed rivals Morocco in the quarterfinals.
All the remaining matches kickoff at 21h00 South Africa time.
– CAJ News