Soccer

African Cup of Nations 2013: Teams That Failed to Live Up to the Hype at AFCON

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 22:  Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast  (L) celebrates with team-mates after the team scored a goal during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations match between Ivory Coast and Togo at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 22, 2013 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 10, 2013

The 2013 African Cup of Nations is coming to a close this weekend, with the final to be played between Nigeria and Burkina Faso—not the final many had predicted would be on display on the final Sunday.

Granted, Nigeria are a two-time champion of the tournament and one of the strongest teams in Africa, but their opponents cannot claim such prestige and notoriety.

They were not expected to even come close to the final, let alone make it, after winning their way through some of the toughest teams in the tournament to get there.

Their very presence in the final shows that some of the top teams coming into the 2013 AFCON did not live up to the hype and sputtered under the big lights. Read on to see some of the top teams that failed under pressure and hype at the African Cup of Nations.

 

Ghana

The Black Stars came into the tournament as one of the teams to beat and looked on course for a strong competition after going undefeated in the group stages.

They weren't really challenged until they played their semifinal against Burkina Faso, but given the squad depth and talent difference between the two, even their semifinal match wasn't really expected to be much of a test for the African powerhouse.

They bowed out on penalties to the minnows despite some controversial refereeing calls that helped them significantly throughout the match. Had they not gotten those calls, you'd have to think they would have been eliminated in regular time and in even more embarrassing fashion.

Simply put, Ghana should be playing in the final against Nigeria—they had the talent and the dream matchup to give them the opportunity. 

But they're not, and they couldn't even beat Mali for third place.

 

South Africa

South Africa aren't the strongest team in the world—in fact, currently ranked 85th according to FIFA, they're nowhere near the strongest team in the world.

But given the home-ground advantage and good run of form that they were showing in the group stages, their 2013 AFCON tournament was a pretty big let down.

They had the right mix of youth and experience to give them a real shot down the stretch here at AFCON but were eliminated on penalties in the quarterfinals to Mali—much to the disappointment of the home fans and onlookers.

The pieces were seemingly there for a surprise run for South Africa, who went undefeated in the group stages. Their one loss, however, proved to be their undoing.

 

Ivory Coast

One look through the Ivory Coast lineup and it's simply staggering how they're not playing in the final of the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.

They are talented and highly skilled, yet they lost to Nigeria in the quarterfinals—unable to even make it through to the final four of the competition.

This is a team that has the highest world ranking of any African country at the moment and is up to 14th in the latest FIFA standings. However, they played nothing like that here and couldn't pull out a strong performance when they needed it most.

The Ivory Coast simply buckled under pressure and were eliminated because of it.

 

Which teams were the biggest disappointments for you from AFCON?

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