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African Cup of Nations has produced cagey affairs so far

12 January 2022 | Africa Cup of Nations | Opinion
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African Cup of Nations has produced cagey affairs so far
mohsen nabil / Shutterstock.com

The African Cup of Nations kicked off on Monday with big expectations. As is usually the case, the competition features some top players.

The likes of Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, along with Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez were the headliners at the start of the tournament. However, seven games into the tournament and there is a trend developing.

That trend is tight, cagey affairs, with teams being slightly cautious, unwilling to go for the win. This is not unusual for opening group games at major international tournaments.

However, so far there have been just five goals scored in the seven matches, with five games finishing 1-0 and two finishing 0-0. It’s an extraordinary quiet start to the competition.

Only Mane out of the three high-profile players Premier League stars has found the back of the net. The three players are obviously stars, but they cannot do it all. There are other talented attacking players in all three squads.

For example, Algeria has the likes of Sofiane Feghouli, Islam Slimani, Yacine Brahimi and Said Benrahma in their squad, who either still figure top European leagues or have previous experience in big leagues. To be fair to Sierra Leone though, they defended well against Mahrez and co.

In fact, to be fair most teams in the competition have been solid in defence. Maybe we should complement the defences, rather than criticising the attacking players.

The low tally of goals scored so far during the games is also due to good tactical acumen from some of the head coaches of the lesser favoured teams. They have shown that good tactical set-ups can often overcome better quality players.

The tournament will no doubt be higher scoring in the future games, as the groups and games open up, the goals will flow. For now, though, the tactical battles are proving to be fascinating.

Africa Cup of Nations Group A
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Cameroon 7 3 2 1 0 7 3 4
2
Burkina Faso 4 3 1 1 1 3 3 0
3
Cape Verde 4 3 1 1 1 2 2 0
4
Ethiopia 1 3 0 1 2 2 6 -4
Africa Cup of Nations Group B
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Senegal 5 3 1 2 0 1 0 1
2
Guinea 4 3 1 1 1 2 2 0
3
Malawi 4 3 1 1 1 2 2 0
4
Zimbabwe 3 3 1 0 2 3 4 -1
Africa Cup of Nations Group C
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Morocco 7 3 2 1 0 5 2 3
2
Gabon 5 3 1 2 0 4 3 1
3
Comoros 3 3 1 0 2 3 5 -2
4
Ghana 1 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2
Africa Cup of Nations Group D
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Nigeria 9 3 3 0 0 6 1 5
2
Egypt 6 3 2 0 1 2 1 1
3
Sudan 1 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3
4
Guinea-Bissau 1 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3
Africa Cup of Nations Group E
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Ivory Coast 7 3 2 1 0 6 3 3
2
Equatorial Guinea 6 3 2 0 1 2 1 1
3
Sierra Leone 2 3 0 2 1 2 3 -1
4
Algeria 1 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3
Africa Cup of Nations Group F
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1
Mali 7 3 2 1 0 4 1 3
2
Gambia 7 3 2 1 0 3 1 2
3
Tunisia 3 3 1 0 2 4 2 2
4
Mauritania 0 3 0 0 3 0 7 -7

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