There is much talk about the UEFA Champions League being the best club competition to exist and only second to the FIFA World Cup which is an international tournament. Because of that, not much attention has been paid to a tournament like the African Cup of Nations where the best teams on the African continent pitch against each other to fight for the crown of "Wakanda". Such an exceptional tournament was left for us Africans to enjoy and the rest of the world was starved of the drama that comes from this prestigious fight for the power of the "Black Panther". Not anymore though because FirstTouch Africa is here to keep you up to speed with the history of the tournament - to give you the necessary context of the African Cup of Nations to be hosted by Cameroon in 2019. Here's the reasons why you should watch the upcoming AFCON tournament.
1. Discover the best African talents & next breakout stars
Hassan Ahmed, captain of Egypt celebrates winning the Africa Cup of Nations final match between Ghana and Egypt from Universitaria Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Luanda, Angola.
It is in such a tournament that the biggest talents on the African continent are given the opportunity to represent their nations against the already established players. Why is this so if you may ask? Probably because not all the best players from the continent play in Europe. Some players either choose to play on the motherland throughout their career, or some are still yet to be scouted by the biggest clubs in the world and will bring their A game in an audition for a big move across the world. In the past, we witnessed players like the Egyptian goalkeeper, El Hadary, shining in the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of the likes of Victor Enyeama of Nigeria, who played in the French Ligue. The Egyptian played for Al-Ahly for the greater part of his career because he wanted African football to be competitive and he contributed to that by offering his services in the local leagues to provide a benchmark of what quality goalkeeping should look like. The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon will be an opportunity for you to discover such talents that you do not get to see on the match-days in the English Premier League live or any other European leagues.
2. Watch the drama as it unfolds
This tournament is popular for the its dramatic moments. At the top of any African football fan's mind, the shocking defeat of Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) at the hands of Zambia in the 2012 AFCON final should be serve as a vivid memory. I mean, as much as Zambia had played some great football in the earliest stages and achieved some great results, not many saw them having enough to go all the way especially when they faced Didier Drogba's team in his last outing for his nation on February 12, 2012. Shocking results are just one of the many dramatic things that happen in this competition. There are some memorable moments about how soccer players get bookings (yellow cards) for showboating on the pitch in the local leagues but some still remain eager to show their fans that they are the entertainers, more so on the international scene. Apart from that, there are some bizarre goal celebrations like the ones made by DR Congo goalkeeper, Robert Kidiaba. You can't explain such things. Check it out here and drop your thought about it in the comment section below.
3. Be a judge to the notion that Africa is developing
Also, following the African cup of nations live will be an awesome opportunity to witness the developments happening on the African continent. Just recently, a corruption scandal in Ghana made headlines and the Ghanaian government responded effectively by dismissing the officials accused of dragging the continent backwards in the fight against corruption. This will be a priceless experience to see things from a different perspective from how it has been presented in the past by the European media. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has also made efforts to warn Cameroon to adhere to international standards if they wish to remain the hosts of the tournament next year. Will the stadiums be ready and in better condition than in the previous years? Is Africa to truly on the rise as suggested by many or is it just a myth? All these questions will be answered not by anyone else but through your own observation as this tournament unfolds in June 2019.
"Such an exceptional tournament was left for us Africans to enjoy and the rest of the world was starved of the drama that comes from this prestigious fight for the power of the "Black Panther."" - Tinotenda Magiya, FirstTouch Africa
4. Witness an amazing cultural exchange
Angola fans dejected during the Africa Cup of Nations Quarter Final match between Angola and Ghana from the November 11 Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Luanda, Angola.
There are about 54 different countries on the continent of Africa but not all of them will be represented at the AFCON finals in Cameroon 2019. Only 24 teams will be present and their fans will be flying from all over the world to support their teams. This means that people of different backgrounds, religion, ethnicity, among other social and cultural differences will come together and add some spice to the way they support the game of football. It is through this diversity that we discovered the Vuvuzela as an African instrument that later on spread across the world of football and is now used in many stadiums around the world. The talking drums of Nigeria are no exception. This upcoming tournament promises to add something new like it always does even when the official teams to play at the tournament are still yet to be confirmed.
5. Broaden your knowledge of football
Zooming out of your comfort zone and exploring a new soccer tournament in the Africa Cup of Nations presents an opportunity to widen football knowledge of any avid soccer fan. Instead of listening to the so-called football experts about African soccer, be your own pundit and witness the bias around soccer on this continent. Get to know more about the backgrounds of your favorite players among other things. The tournament is ready for you! Are you ready for it?