Africa Cup of Nations 2012: Ivory Coast Will Run Away with Tournament

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 21, 2012

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 12: Salomon Kalou of Cote D'Ivoire in action during the Nelson Mandela Challenge match between South Africa and Ivory Coast at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images

If there was ever a time for Ivory Coast to run away with the Africa Cup of Nations, it's right now.

The Elephants, who, according to FIFA, are already the top ranked team in Africa, should have no problem dominating their opponents in this year's tournament.

The reason? Lack of competition.

Five of the top seven African countries behind Ivory Coast didn't qualify for the tournament.

Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and others failed to qualify for multiple reasons.

Other than Ghana, there aren't any teams in the tournament that really have much of a shot at taking down Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast, who are ranked 18th in the world, are the clear favorites in Group B.

Who is the competition in Group B?

Following Ivory Coast is 66th-ranked Burkina Faso, 85th-ranked Angola and 120th-ranked Sudan.

Ivory Coasts boasts one of the best rosters in the world.

Yaya and Kolo Touré from Manchester City, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Newcastle midfielder Chieck Tioté and Arsenal striker Gervinho are just a few worth mentioning.

Other than Ghana or Senegal, there is no team in this tournament that stands a chance against the talent on this roster.

Even when they meet up, Ghana and Senegal will still be clear underdogs in the matchup.

Obviously, the talent on the team isn't everything. The players will need to gel.

They do have that talent though, and they also clearly hold the confidence. They are going to be the team to beat over the next month.