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11.02.2008 13:13

Bittersweet end to the African Cup of Nations


The African Cup of Nations has finished with the triumph of Egypt and a leading role for Barça players Eto'o, who ended up as the tournament’s top goalscorer, and Touré Yaya, who was included in the best eleven.

Eto'o, playing for Cameroon, and Touré Yaya, with Ivory Coast, have finished up their African Cup of Nations 2008 with the disappointment of not having won the title but with the satisfaction of having been key figures in their respective sides. Their individual exploits have consolidated their positions as two of Africa’s leading footballers.

Eto'o top scorer

etooafrica.jpgSamuel Eto'o led the list of goalscorers at the tournament with 5 and has become the top scorer in the history of the championship. His total of 16 is two better than the 14 notched by the previous record holder, Ivory Coast’s Laurent Pokou.

Cameroon and Eto'o in the final

Eto'o has been an indispensable player as far as his national coach is concerned, as he has played all the minutes in the competition (a total of 570 including extra-time). In the group stage Eto’o scored five goals in just three games. He netted twice in the initial 4-2 defeat by Egypt, scored from the penalty spot as Cameroon thrashed Zambia 5-1 and notched two of his side’s three in the 3-0 victory over Sudan which made sure the ‘Indomitable Lions’ would get through to the quarter finals.

In those quarter-finals Cameroon just squeezed past Tunisia by three goals to two in a game which went to extra-time. In the semi-finals Otto Pfister’s men then knocked out hosts Ghana 1-0. However, in the final not even the efforts of Eto'o, who finished the match with a niggle, were enough to overcome a powerful Egyptian side which captured its second championship in a row thanks to a single goal by Abou Treika.

Touré, in the tournament best XI

img_226yaya.jpgTouré Yaya has been named as one of the eleven best players at the African Cup of Nations. The Barça player has been included in the starting line-up alongside Essien, Muntari, Manucho, Geremi and Song and five members of the winning Egyptian side.

Ivory Coast, out in the semis

Ivory Coast ended up fourth after their excellent early showing came to an end in their semi-final tie with Egypt. Touré played all 90 minutes in all three of the group stage matches and his side reached the quarter-finals after beating Nigeria 1-0, Benin 4-1 (with Touré’s only goal in the competition) and Mali 3-0.

DSC05215.JPGIn the quarter-finals Ivory Coast overran Guinea 5-0 and Touré was again on the pitch for all 90 minutes. But in the semi-finals the ‘Elephants’ came up against Egypt in a replay of the 2006 final. Barça’s midfielder played the entire match but Ivory Coast still suffered at the hands of an Egyptian side that was gearing up for the final, going down by four goals to one. In the third and fourth place play-off, with Touré coming off the bench, Ivory Coast lost to hosts Ghana 4-2.
Bittersweet end to the African Cup of Nations
Txiki Begiristain goes to Ghana
FC Barcelona’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, flew out for the final stages of the African Cup of Nations in Ghana at which Barça players Eto'o and Touré Yaya have been two of the tournament’s stars. Begiristain, who was accompanied by club director Albert Perrín, was able to give the players his support as they disputed the African Cup of Nations.

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