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W. African egos to clash at Africa Nations Cup

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th January 2006 03:00 AM

A chastened giant, a re-awoken one, another seeking redemption and a minnow convene to make Group D the toughest and most enchanting of all.

A chastened giant, a re-awoken one, another seeking redemption and a minnow convene to make Group D the toughest and most enchanting of all.

b>By Paul Mbuga

A chastened giant, a re-awoken one, another seeking redemption and a minnow convene to make Group D the toughest and most enchanting of all.

A rejuvenated Ghana, after so many self-imposed years in the wilderness, will be without Michael Essien.

The midfielder picked up an injury early this month, and coach Ratomir Dujkovic can be forgiven for thinking a grand conspiracy is afoot; Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan also withdrew injured, but such is the level of self-belief Ghana possesses, no task is beyond them, including qualification from the group.

Dujkovic at least has Matthew Amoah and captain Steven Appiah in imposing touch.

Senegal’s failure to qualify for the World Cup hit hard, given that they reached the quarter-final in 2002 Korea/Japan.
All-round quality remains though: Tony Sylva, Omar Dar and Ferdinand Coly at the back, Abdoulaye Faye in midfield and El Hadj Diouf and Henri Camara upfront.

Zimbabwe coach Charles Mhlauri is an urbane and cerebral man with his own website, but that is still inadequate for Zimbabwe to scorn the odds and progress.

Nigeria is coming up for some grave self-interrogation after failing to qualify for this year’s World Cup.

There are nonetheless a slew of players who are unwilling to represent the country at the behest of their club careers.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni pulled out, claiming that he is unable to work with coach Austin Eguavoen, but his fine form for Middlesbrough, and the fact that he stood to lose his place had he chosen to play for his country, tells another story.

Obafemi Martins will however feature, and will be a key figure along with Austin Okocha.

Along with certainties Zimbabwe, one of Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana will have to forfeit a place in the quarter-finals.

Eguavoen will hope it is not the Super Eagles, for in a country as populous as Nigeria, there is no place to hide.

Players to watch:
Nigeria: Martins
Ghana: Appiah
Senegal: Camara
Zimbabwe: Mwaruwari

W. African egos to clash at Africa Nations Cup

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