AFRICA

They know who'll win the cup, do you?

It's five months to go before the start of the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil, but football mania has already gripped the continent. Our Observers take you to the heart of the 27th Africa Cup of Nations.

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From Jan. 10, Angola plays host to the 27th Africa Cup of Nations – also known as the CAN. Five months before the start of the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil, the continent’s top teams battle for supremacy in a tournament that will be closely watched by football fans and talent scouts from around the world. Over the next three weeks, our Observers will take you to the heart of the event through photos, videos and comments sent from the different countries taking part in the Cup. If you are also following the CAN 2010, send us your pictures and your thoughts on Africa’s biggest sporting event.

"Ghana will eat the Elephants of the Ivory Coast"

I reckon Ghana has a good chance of going at least as far as the semis. But I’m not sure we’ll manage to win the Cup because we have so many key players who are out with injuries, inluding Appiah and Mensah. We are of course in the Group of Death, but I’m confident we’ll eat the Elephants of the Ivory Coast, even though I have to concede they are the tournament’s favourites. Then there’s also Cameroon, who could well surprise their opponents."

The fans are ready for kick-off

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"The surprise could come from Gabon"

The Ivory Coast has enjoyed little success in recent years, but there’s no doubt we count among the big favourites this time round. The squad is packed with big guns, including Yaya Touré and Salomon Kalou, not to mention our global star Didier Drogba, who’s in great shape at the moment. We must keep an eye on Cameroon, who are definitely in with a chance, particularly with striker Samuel Eto’o. I’d also rank Michael Essien’s Ghana among the favourites. But the surprise could come from Gabon, who did very well during the qualifying games.

"The big favourite is definitely Cameroon"

The big favourite to win the CAN is definitely Cameroon, which is hardly a surprise. They’re led by Samuel Eto’o, who hardly needs presentation, and count the likes of Makoun and Song. I also see the Ivory Coast of the mighty Didier Drogba as a threat. Then there’s also Ghana, who play very well as a team, and Egypt, who will be keen to bounce back after their elimination from the World Cup in South Africa. Finally, I’d say Algeria have shown they have the potential to do well in the tournament.

"The Desert Foxes have what it takes to kick up a storm"

I think Egypt and Algeria are serious candidates to reach at least the semis. The Desert Foxes have what it takes to kick up a storm, particularly after they dumped title holders Egypt out of the 2010 World Cup. I also think Angola, the host country, and Mali, a credible outsider, will go far in the competition. »

"The Tunisian squad has a number of young players who could do well"

Having won the last two cups, Egypt cannot be taken lightly. Cameroon will also be present. Their team is well balanced and physically impressive. I’d say the other two favourites are the Ivory Coast, which can count on many quality players like Drogba, and Nigeria, who generally reach at least the semis. The Tunisian squad has a number of young players who could do well; we’ll just have to hope they can reach the final stages of the competition."