The Star (Nairobi)

9 February 2013

Kenya: I See Eagles Picking the Stallions Apart in Afcon Title Match

No-one would have predicted that Burkina Faso would find themselves here; so all those naysayers who are predicting a Super Eagles, slaughter - not so fast! Nigeria do have players like John Obi Mikel at their disposal but the Burkinabe did get past a host of teams, including Ghana to get here.

This will be a fierce fight given that Burkina Faso will be hoping to win their first ever AFCON tournament while Nigeria have forgotten what it feels like to win it.

Nineteen odd years will do that to you. And since 1994 Nigeria have always been so close yet so far, losing the 2000 final 4-3 on penalties to Cameroon, not to mention reaching the semis four times since then.

Coach Stephen Keshi is being cautious; infact insisting that he has a young and inexperienced squad with a sprinkling of experience. Keshi got a lot of flack in Nigeria for leaving out several superstars and taking local talent to SA, but I guess no matter what happens now, the gamble has paid off.

And the way I know Keshi, once... okay if he wins AFCON, he will gloat! He will boast, he will rub it in your faces and yes, gloat. And if he does, he will have earned the right to. But don't write off a Burkinabe side that has come this far. Why am I saying that and I have done just that with my prediction.

Sunderland Vs Arsenal Today 6pm

My prediction The Black Cats...1 The Gunners....4

Sunderland are having a tough tough season. They have just seven wins out of 25 matches played this season and last week they struggled losing 2-1 to Reading.

Martin O'Neill is disappointing me because I'm a big fan of his but not this season. Surprisingly they have sent Louis Saha to Lazio but they have acquired super striker Danny Graham from Swansea to boost their side.

The reverse fixture of this game ended in a 0-0 draw at Emirates stadium but the Black Cats are facing a reviving Arsenal. Arsenal haven't lost in three league matches and players like Olivier Giroud are finding their scoring boots. Gervinho will be back from AFCON but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

His AFCON form was amazing but we know he doesn't do the same for the Gunners. Maybe local food will have helped him a little and he'll return full of energy and African wisdom - fat chance! We have Theo, Jack and newly arrived Nacho Monreal. Not to mention Lukas Podolski who helped us get the three points last week against Stoke City; scoring the lone goal late on.

Captain Tomas Vermaelen acknowledges that it's taken a while but Arsenal are beginning to shine and will continue to do so until the end of the season. But he says it won't be easy at the Stadium of Light. Vermaelen however says we are ready for war!

Manchester United Vs Everton Sunday 7pm

My Prediction: The Red Devils....1 The Toffees....1

The 20th of August was a good day. Manchester United travelled to Goodison Park and lost. That result boosted the confidence of the Toffees and it's probably one of the major reasons why Everton have done so well this season.

They haven't lost a league game since the year started and find themselves fifth, just three points behind a champions league slot. David Moyes has done a fine job this season and it's no wonder teams like Chelsea have him under their radar. But the ever so annoying Manchester United haven't lost a game in more than two months! Ouch! They have their sights set on the title and they don't intend to waver. This match-up is exciting at this point of the season given the great form of both sides.

Nigeria Vs Burkina Faso Sunday 9pm

My prediction Super Eagles....3 Burkinabe....1

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