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Africa Cup of Nations

Africa Cup of Nations: Top Five Disappointments

8:45 PM GMT 20/07/2019
Joseph Okumu Michael Olunga and Victor Wanyama of Kenya and Harambee Stars.
As the dust settles on Algeria’s Afcon win, Goal review the major disappointments of the Nations Cup

  • Mohamed Salah Egypt


    Let’s start with the big one—the performance of the hosts.

    While they took maximum points from the group stage, defeating Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda without conceding a goal, their attacking unit was disjointed, while their defence was unconvincing.

    They were second best for much of their Round of 16 tie against South Africa, who outthought and outplayed the hosts. The silence when the Pharaohs fell behind in the 85th minute was deafening, and the supporters promptly turned on their erstwhile heroes.

  • vory Coast Jean Michael Seri and South Africas defender, Thamsanqa Mkhize, June 2019


    There were 102 goals scored at the Nations Cup, the most of any African tournament, even if that number is greatly boosted by the expanded competition and the increased volume of matches.

    In truth, it's hard to pick out too many teams who truly exploited creativity within their ranks, or who were able to consistently take the game to teams and impose themselves regularly on opponents.

    Algeria, with Sofiane Feghouli and Ismael Bennacer in midfield, were the most effective, while Senegal reached the final without a central playmaker and Nigeria reached the final four despite being significantly more comfortable without the ball.

    Jean-Michael Seri of the Ivory Coast was dropped after the first game, Tresor Mputu was axed after one half against Egypt, and Abdallah El Said struggled for Egypt.

    This wasn’t a vintage tournament for playmakers and the creativity they ought to have offered.

  • Tunisia-Mohamed Drager-Afcon


    It’s a bit harsh including Tunisia in our list of Afcon disappointments, considering how they reached the semi-finals and ultimately finished fourth after a 1-0 playoff defeat by Nigeria.

    However, this finish belies the fact that they were unconvincing throughout, winning only one match—against Madagascar—in the entire campaign.

    They were the first team in history—tied with Benin—to fail to win their first four games in the tournament and avoid elimination, with Alain Giresse failing to get the best out of a talented squad.

    Admittedly, they were let down by a series of goalkeeping gaffes—all three of their stoppers committed gross errors—but this trio weren’t entirely to blame for the Carthage Eagles’ poor showing in Egypt.

  • Clarence Seedorf

    Clarence Seedorf

    The prospect of one of the greatest players of his generation—and one of the most decorated—taking over one of Africa’s biggest nations was tantalising.

    Seedorf’s chequered managerial career to date could have been forgiven had he guided Cameroon to the latter stages of the Nations Cup, let alone retain their title after having been stripped of hosting rights.

    However, Seedorf’s brief and muddled time with the Indomitable Lions--which began with the poor decision to alienate captain Benjamin Moukandjo—ended with a Round of 16 elimination by Nigeria and his subsequent dismissal.

    The Dutchman received criticism from fans and players alike, raised eyebrows with his substitutions, and departs from his role without winning over too many observers in the Central African nation.

  • Mbwana Samatta of Tanzania celebrate his goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Kenya

    Cecafa’s Teams

    It wasn’t a great tournament for Cecafa’s teams.

    The region has enjoyed a better representation than normal at this expanded Nations Cup, but only Uganda impressed—reaching the Round of 16 after taking four points from their group games.

    For the rest, it was an underwhelming campaign.

    Burundi and Tanzania departed without a single point, with the former failing to score a single goal in the process.

    Kenya may have beaten the Taifa Stars, but they appeared muddled at times, lacked the solidity they showed in qualifying, and too many key players didn’t show up, with Michael Olunga a rare exception.

    The region has had four representatives at the 2019, but apart from Uganda, there doesn’t appear to be too much improvement, and talk of renaissance appears premature.