• Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Coupe d'Afrique des Nations previews - group C

    The fourth and last of our Coupe d'Afrique des Nations previews, following A, B and D, is, inevitably, C.

    Nickname: The Panthers. Some of these countries don't even try.

    Co-hosts Gabon name St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, but his two brothers don't make it due to injury. As an aside, Aubamayeng senior captained the country on their first appearance in the finals in 1994. Pierre-Emerick is the star man with the ageing Daniel Cousin alongside him.

    Goalkeepers: Yann Bidonga (Mangasport), Stephane Bitseki Moto (US Bitam), Didier Ovono (Le Mans, France)
    Defenders: Georges Ambourouet (Missile FC), Moise Brou Apanga (Brest, France), Bruno Ecuele Manga (Lorient, France), Rémy Ebanega (US Bitam), Edmond Mouele (Mangasport), Rodrigue Moundounga (Olympique Beja, Tunisia), Charly Moussonou (Missile FC), Henri Ndong (US Bitam)
    Midfielders: Andre Biyogo Poko (Bordeaux, France), Cedric Boussougou (Mangasport), Lévy Madinda (Celta Vigo, Spain), Bruno Mbanangoye Zita (Dinamo Minsk, Ukraine), Cédric Moubamba (US Bitam), Lloyd Palun (Nice, France)
    Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (St Etienne, France), Daniel Cousin (FC Sapins), Fabrice Do Marcolino (Laval), Roguy Méyé (Zalaegerszeg, Hungary), Eric Mouloungui (Nice, France), Stéphane Nguéma (US Bitam)

    Nickname: Lions of the Atlas. The Barbary lion is extinct in the wild, but remains the national emblem. The same fate befell the Atlas bear and Barbary leopard. You have to conclude that Moroccans just like killing things they hold dear.

    Eric Gerets names a strong squad, though Mounir El Hamdaoui pays for his lack of involvement at Ajax. Ahmed Kantari has only just returned from an Achilles injury, but is included. They've a wealth of talent up top. Keep an eye on Nordin Amrabat, Oussama Assaidi and the mercurial Adel Taarabt. Karim El Ahmadi, Younes Belhanda and the veteran Youssouf Hadji are all classy. They also have Marouane Chamakh. These lads are in with a shot.

    Goalkeepers: Nadir Lamyaghri (Wydad Casablanca), Issam Badda (FUS Rabat), Mohamed Amsif (Augsburg, Germany)
    Defenders: Jamal Allioui (Al Kharytiyath, Qatar), Michael Chrétien (Bursaspor, Turkey), Badr El Kaddouri (Celtic, Scotland), Abdelhamid El Kaoutari (Montpellier, France), Mehdi Benatia (Udinese, Italy), Abdelfattah Boukhriss (FUS Rabat), Mustapha Mrani (MAS), Ahmed Kantari (Brest, France)
    Midfielders: Houcine Kharja (Fiorentina, Italy), Adil Hermach (Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord, Netherlands), Younes Belhanda (Montpellier, France), Mbark Boussoufa (Anzhi Makhachkala, Russia), Youssouf Hadji (Rennes, France), Mehdi Carcela (Anzhi Makhachkala, Russia)
    Forwards: Nordin Amrabat (Kayserispor, Turkey), Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Youssef El Arabi (Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia), Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers, England), Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal, England)

    Nickname: The Ménas. That, as if you needed telling, is the Hausa name for the Dama gazelle, a Saharan native whose numbers are dwindling as their habitat is destroyed. Bit of an over-reaction to a homewares store closing.

    For their first appearance in the finals, Niger name seven locally-based players. Moussa Maazou who plays in Belgium is their star man and it was he who scored against reigning champions Egypt that set up both their qualification and Egypt's failure to do so. Jimmy Bulus and Jimmy Bullard are two different people.

    Goalkeepers: Daouda Kassaly (Coton Sport, Cameroon), Rabo Saminou (Sahel SC), Lossény Doumbia (DC Motema Pembe, DR Congo)
    Defenders: Koffi Dan Kowa (ES Zarzis, Tunisia), Kader Amadou Dodo (Olympic FC), Mohamed Chikoto (Platinium Stars, South Africa), Mohamed Soumaïla (Olympic FC), Djibrilla Moussa (AS Garde Nationale), Souleymane Mazadou (Union Sportive Marignanaise, France), Jimmy Bulus (Hussein Dey, Algeria), Issiaka Koudizé (AS Garde Nationale)
    Midfielders: Idrissa Laouali (AS FAN), Abdoul-Karim Lancina (Coton Sport, Cameroon), William Tonji Ngounou (IF Limhamn, Sweden), Olivier Harouna Bonnes (Lille, France), Yacouba Ali (Africa Sports, Ivory Coast), Idrissa Saïdou (Coton Sport, Cameroon), Boubacar Talatou (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Moutari Amadou (Akokana FC), Issoufou Boubacar (FC Phuket, Thailand)
    Attackers: Moussa Maazou (Zulte Waregem, Belgium), Issoufou Alhassane Danté (Raja Casablanca, Morocco), Kamilou Daouda (CS Sfaxien, Tunisia)

    Nickname: Eagles of Carthage. I went to Carthage once. The place is in ruins (thank the Romans at the end of the Punic Wars for that), I saw no eagles, but I did get bollocked for taking a photo of the President's house. That President was Zine El Abadine Ben Ali. AND WHERE IS HE NOW? Take that, you massive, corrupt, murdering arsehole.

    Sami Trabelsi's side are a decent outside bet and look a solid outfit. Sami Allagui is the man to watch up front alongside Issam Jemaa and Karim Haggui is a solid Bundesliga performer, but there's a good range of experience across the 23 players. Winners? No. Semi-finalists however...

    Goalkeepers: Rami Jeridi (Stade Tunisien), Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile du Sahel), Moez Ben Cherifia (Esperance)
    Defenders: Khalil Chammam (Esperance), Anis Boussaidi (Rostov, Russia), Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse, France), Bilel Iffa (Club Africain), Karim Haggui (Hannover, Germany), Ammar Jemal (FC Cologne, Germany)
    Midfielders: Adel Chedli (Etoile du Sahel), Oussama Darragui (Esperance), Mejdi Traoui (Esperance), Khaled Korbi (Esperance), Wissem Ben Yahia (Mersin, Turkey), Yassine Chikhaoui (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Hocine Ragued (Karabukspor, Turkey), Jamel Saihi (Montpellier, France)
    Forwards: Issam Jemaa (Auxerre, France), Zouhaier Dhaouadi (Club Africain), Youssef Msakni (Esperance), Saber Khelifa (Evian, France), Amine Chermiti (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Sami Allagui (Mainz, Germany)

    Going through from this group: Morocco and Tunisia in no particular order.

    The fun and games begin on Saturday with hosts Equatorial Guinea playing Libya and Senegal against Zambia later on that evening. We'll be covering it as best we can, hopefully with new writers for all you that are bored of the usual drivel.

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