African football has come of age – Experts

Football experts have predicted an exciting tournament at this year’s African Cup of Nations to be hosted by Gabon and Equitorial Guinea despite the absence of some of the continent’s soccer powerhouses – Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa.

The biannual competition kicks off this weekend and many analysts are of the opinion the absence of those countries could rob the event of the needed excitement, given the enormous experience, skills and talents they bring to the tournament.

The first three countries have between them won the Nations Cup 11times.

Speaking to the GNA Sports in separate interviews in Kumasi, Coach Anthony Edusei, a former coach of the senior national team, the Black Stars, however thinks otherwise.

Coach Edusei noted that African football had come of age and for that reason no team could be underrated and cited how the so-called non-football nations upstaged the giants of the game.

He said it was important for all to appreciate that football was full of uncertainties and any team can pull a surprise.

Coach Edusei advised the technical handlers of the Stars to psyche up the players to remove any sense of complacency so that they approach every match with the deserved seriousness.

A retired Class One referee, Emmanuel Asante, underlined the need for fair officiating to bring out the best among the various countries.

This, he said, was vital for the success of any competition and must not be lost on anybody or for any country to be giving an undue advantage over others.

“The world would be watching the performance of those appointed to officiate at the matches and this would justify their invitation to referee in future tournaments of the world football controlling body, FIFA.”

Ernest Joe De-graft, former player of the Black Stars, cautioned the players to avoid picking unnecessary cards, since the team would need the services of all them to bring the ultimate Cup to Ghana. GNA

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