A-Z of AFCON 2015


An A to Z of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea:

A

Ahmed Akaichi -- not part of the original Tunisia squad -- was an injury-induced replacement and developed into a key performer.

B

Pacey former Real Madrid winger Javier Balboa starred for surprise fourth-place finishers Equatorial Guinea

C

Coaches Paul Put of Burkina Faso and Alain Giresse of Senegal quit after first-round exits and Michel Dussuyer left despite taking Guinea to the quarterfinals.

D

There were 13 draws in 24 first-round matches -- including five each in groups B and D -- to equal the Cup of Nations record set in South Africa two years ago.

E

No case of Ebola was reported during the tournament amid stringent health precautions. Original hosts Morocco withdrew because they feared visiting supporters could spread the virus.

F

It was a disappointing Cup of Nations for German coach Volker Finke, who rebuilt Cameroon after a disastrous 2014 World Cup in Brazil only to make a first-round departure from Equatorial Guinea.

G

Star Ivory Coast winger Gervinho bounced back after being red-carded in his opening group game to score vital knockout-stage goals against Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

H

Hotels were an early-tournament concern with Congo Brazzaville complaining of exposed electricity cables and no water and Tunisia unhappy at a lack of power and having to wash in a swimming pool.

I

The fancy footwork of teenage Equatorial Guinea winger Iban Edu was a hit with local supporters. Some of his trickery was so intense it left defenders dizzy.

J

Zambian Honour Janza will do well to avoid the post-tournament coaching clear-out. He said he performed well, but a first-round elimination suggest otherwise.

K

Belgium-based South Africa goalkeeper Darren Keet was axed after one game having been directly to blame for one goal and partly to blame for another in a 3-1 defeat by Algeria.

L

The latest goal in a 2015 Cup of Nations game was scored by Javier Balboa for Equatorial Guinea direct from a free-kick 12 minutes into extra time against Tunisia.

M

The Mongomo pitch -- laid a month before the tournament kicked off with grass imported from Spain -- came under fire. "Catastrophic," was the verdict of Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra.

N

Equatorial Guinea skipper and striker Emilio Nsue from English second-tier club Middlesbrough struck the first goal of the tournament after 16 minutes against Congo Brazzaville.

O

South Africa centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo achieved an unwanted distinction by scoring the only own goal of the 2015 Cup of Nations during a 3-1 loss to Algeria.

P

Six penalties were awarded with Equatoguinean Javier Balboa (twice), Cape Verdean Heldon and Ghanaian Jordan Ayew scoring and South African Tokelo Rantie and Malian Seydou Keita failing.

Q

Queues formed ahead of some early group matches and entry to stadiums was delayed with each spectator having their temperature taken as part of an anti-Ebola drive.

R

Having Frenchman Claude Le Roy as coach virtually guarantees at least a Cup of Nations quarter-finals place. Taking Congo Brazzaville there meant seven successes in eight attempts to reach the knockout stage.

S

Zambia striker Given Singuluma scored the fastest goal of the 2015 Cup of Nations after 62 seconds of a group game against the Democratic Republic of Congo.

T

Congo Brazzaville complained that a 15-minute trip to the stadium for the opener against Equatorial Guinea took more than an hour amid sweltering heat in a bus lacking air conditioning. Traffic 'dirty tricks' perhaps?

U

The tournament was marred by ugly scenes late in the semi-final between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana with a jagged piece of a mirror and a broken plate among missiles used by rioters.

V

None of the vuvuzelas (plastic horns) that created such a noisy atmosphere at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa found their way to Equatorial Guinea.

W

There were 11 wins in 24 first-round matches and all four quarter-finals and both semi-finals also produced victories without having to go to the dreaded penalty shootout. The third-place play-off went to penalties after a goalless stalemate.

X

The x-factor was not much in evidence during a tournament notable for teamwork rather than individual brilliance.

Y

Tempestuous Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara was an accident waiting to happen in the quarter-final loss to Ghana and his late red-card for fouling Asamoah Gyan came as no surprise.

Z

DR Congo defender Gabriel Zakuani was not keen on being involved in the third-place play-off at a ground where there had been riots two days before. "I love football, but prefer to live," he tweeted.

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