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This weekend sees the start of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations that takes place in South Africa. On this week’s main listening report the languagecaster team previews the four groups and even dares to make a prediction. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
South Africa are no longer regarded as powerhouses of African football and they will be missing their biggest name here (Steven Pienaar) but the fact that they are hosting the tournament means Bafana Bafana should at least make it through the group stages. They face debutants Cape Verde in their opening match and if they win that then they will be battling it out with Angola and Morocco to qualify. The Moroccan Atlas Lions are extremely inconsistent but with star midfielder Younes Belhanda in their team they have someone who, on his day, is a match-winner at any level. Angola will be appearing in their fifth straight finals but they will be hoping to do better than last year when Sudan knocked them out. Former Manchester United striker Manucho leads the attacking line for the Palancas Negras but it will be difficult for them to qualify. The same can be said for the island nation of Cape Verde who shocked African football by knocking out Cameroon in the qualifying stage. The Blue Sharks have some players playing for European clubs but it would really be a huge shock if the smallest nation to ever pay in the Africa Cup of Nations managed to get through the group.
Despite not having won the African title in over 30 years many people still fancy Ghana to do well in this tournament. The Black Stars will be expected to ease through the group even without some of their big-name players such as Michael Essien, Andre Ayew and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Perhaps their biggest rivals in the group will be Mali who finished third in last year’s event. The Eagles will have West Ham striker Maiga in their team as well as the experienced formr Barcelona and Sevilla midfielder Seydou Keita and look much stronger than the outsiders in the group the DR Congo and Niger.
Nigeria amazingly failed to qualify for last year’s competition and they will be aiming to restore some pride in this year’s version. Manager Stephen Keshi was in the side the last time The Super Eagles won the African title 19 years ago and their fans will be hoping that Chelsea stars Moses and Mikel can help them qualify from a group that includes holders Zambia, who should be too strong for both Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. It would be a huge surprise if the Ethiopian Antelopes, who are returning to the competition 30 years after their last appearance, and the Stallions of Burkina Faso made it through with the latter not having registered a win in their last 17 African Nations Cup appearances.
The favourites for the tournament, Ivory Coast will face a tough battle to make it out of the group against the North African duo of Algeria and Tunisia. The Ivorian Elephants have been favoured to win the African title in the past four versions but have yet to taste victory. Lead by talisman Didier Drogba they will hope to finally win some silverware but will have to overcome the Desert Foxes of Algeria who are the second-ranked team in Africa and the dark horse team of the tournament, Tunisia. Togo, despite Tottenham striker Adebayor in their line up, are there to make up the numbers and will have little or no chance.
powerhouses: Traditionally strong teams
debutants: First time appearance
Atlas Lions: Nickname of Morocco
on his day: When he is in form
Palancas Negras: Nickname of Angola
The Blue Sharks: The nickname of Cape Verde
Black Stars: Nickname of Ghana
to ease through the group: To qualify easily
The Eagles: The nickname of Mali
outsiders: A team not expected to do well
The Super Eagles: Nickname of Nigeria
Antelopes: Nickname of Ethiopia
the Stallions: Nickname of Burkina Faso
the latter:Burkina Faso
Elephants: Nickname of Ivory Coast
four versions: the previous four tournaments
talisman: Lucky charm, main player
win some silverware: Win a trophy
the Desert Foxes: Nickname of Algeria