As we are now past the midway point of January we now suddenly have the first major footballing tournament of 2012 rearing its lovely head in to our view. That's right, its time for the Africa Cup of Nations!
This biennial tournament (although there is one next year, confused? Yes....) is quite simply the most bonkers football tournament on the planet. That is a bold statement I hear you say but this tournament has everything; passion, emotion and some great games. Yes the quality of the games can at times be terrible and dull but the atmosphere is invariably incredible.
So the 2012 tournament is here. South Africa? check.....oh no celebrating too early and sitting back cost them, Nigeria?....oh under exile, Cameroon? Choked. Egypt and Algeria? They also fell by on the wayside.
So who does this leave as the front runners? Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Ghana have to be considered as potential champions going into the tournament but could the hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea be dark horses? Unlikely, both will need good home support to get them going. Home field advantage could spur them on but both lack consistent form.
My eyes focus on one team; Libya. Call me Mr Soppy but there is something slightly emotional about seeing the Mediterranean Knights qualify for the tournament given what has happened to this country in the last 12 months and one of their players, Walid Kahatroushi, fought against Gaddafi in the uprising.
Given this is Euro Football blog this tournament could well be a dream for European clubs; unknown stars could from some of the surprise qualifiers could prove to be a bargain in the summer (or late January, if they're quick) transfer window and lets not forget that 20 or so Premiership stars could be on show.
So settle back, close the curtains, put your TV on and be warmed by this special tournament.
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