Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Africa Cup Finalists Ready For Battle

Ebo Quansah

With the draw for the 1984 African Cup of Nations championship in Ivory Coast conducted, the eight surviving finalists have now entered the final phase of their training for Africa's version of the world cup.

The final phase usually consists of scouting and the mapping out of strategies to counteract opponents' manoeuvres.

The draw, grouping the Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroons and Egypt in Abidjan and sending defending champions, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria and Malawi to Bouke, obviously focuses attention on Group 'B' where the battle for survival will be very keen.

Until the very end of the preliminaries, it would be very difficult to pick survivors..

In this group, Malawi seems on paper to be the side with the least experience in continental soccer.. Even then Malawi's impressive victories over Zambia, Kenya and Uganda on her way to the Group matches in Ivory Coast must be enough credentials to qualify the Southern African to be given attention.

In terms of the Cup of Nations, Malawian Soccer is virtually unknown in the sense that she has not been fortunate enough to line up at any finals. But that does not mean any side could take Malawi for a ride.

Algeria is a late comer to African football. But she has taken in enough by way of notes to rival any nation for soccer supremacy. She announced her presence with the capture of the All Africa gold medal in soccer in 1978.

In 1980, Algeria finished runners up to Nigeria in the 12th African Cup of Nations championship in Lagos. In Libya, Algeria were fourth to Ghana, Libya and Zambia in the 13th championship.

It was the World Cup in Spain that shot up Algerian soccer. With a 2-1 victory over West Germany, European champions and vice world Kings, the North Africans have since paraded soccer arenas with their chests up.

Their 1-0 victory over Ghana's Black Stars in the 14th President's Cup matches in Malaysia is enough indication of the rise of Algerian football. Nigeria won the Cup in 1980. Before then, the furthest they had gone was the third place they claimed in Accra in the 1978 championship. Since then, the Green Eagles have flown to many rostrums in Africa, missing the 1982 World Cup finals narrowly.

They are currently bubbling with confidence following the team's reorganization. Their matches with Ghana and Algeria will definitely be a thriller.

Ghana Black Stars historic fifth attempt to grab the trophy will be given a stiff test by Algeria and Nigeria. With victories from 1963 - Accra, 1965 - Tunis, 1978 - Accra and 1982 Tripoli, the Black Stars are the most experienced side in the Group but with the challenge from Algeria and Nigeria, it will be very difficult picking the two probable nations to qualify. In any case the two are likely to come from Ghana, Algeria and Nigeria in that order.

In Group 'A' Egypt and Cameroons look too powerful to be subdued. Egypt won the Cup in 1957 and 1959. She went into hibernation when the Arab Israeli war raged on.

The end of the war has seen a great soccer revival in Egypt. Two of their clubs share the two African clubs championship between them. El-Ahly (National) are the champions in the club championship while Arabs are Cup winners kings.

With top players from these clubs forming the Egypt national squad, the North Africans are sure to qualify from Group 'A'.

Also to go through the preliminaries are Cameroons who shocked the world with a 1-1 draw game with World champions Italy.

The performance of Ivory Coast in the West African championship in Abidjan during which she was massacred by Togo and Ghana did not convince anybody that the Elephants can bully their way through the Cup of Nations.


The Flying Eagles of Nigeria were the toast of their countrymen following their brilliant 1-0 defeat of Ghana's Black Meteors in the opening match of the fight for the Shagari Cup, symbol of West African junior soccer supremacy.

The victory was recorded at the Nigerian national Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, in this sub-regional challenge contest.

Most soccer analysts are of the view that victory over Ghana is almost the battle won and fellow countrymen who jammed the soccer arena gave the Flying Eagles a standing ovation for a job well done.


Jarrafs of Senegal gave their Countrymen cause to be merry when they defeated African clubs championship runners-up Kumasi Asante kotoko of Ghana 2-1 in the first leg of their continental semi final tie in Dakar.

The victory, the first over a Ghanaian side in recent times, should give the Senegalese the psychological advantage they need in the second leg engagement.

Senegalese soccer has been smarting under pressure following two successive victories by Ghanaian teams in Senegal making the second leg engagement in Ghana mere formalities. Jaraafs victory, if nothing at all, has broken the spell and Senegalese fans celebrate it into the night.

It was Great Olympics who cast the spell with a 3-1 win over Dieb Diabell in Dakar. The Ghanaian national junior team followed suit with the same marginal victory over the Senegalese junior side in Dakar. Both Ghanaian teams won the return engagement 1-0

talking drums 1983-10-31 politics of border closures Togo blames Ghana