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AFCON Round-Up: Talking Points

The AFCON came to an end on Sunday after entertaining from start to finish. It has been an incredible story after the other throughout.


The AFCON came to an end on Sunday after entertaining from start to finish. It has been an incredible story after the other throughout. Bet Central brings you all the standout points.

Against All Odds

It’s not every day one sees a team get beaten 4-0 at any stage of a competition, but somehow, they go all the way to win it. But that is exactly what AFCON host Cote d’Ivoire did on Sunday as they crowned champions of Africa in Abidjan.

After winning 1 and losing twice in the group stages, the hosts stood on the brink of being the 1st host nation in 30 years to be eliminated in the group phase. The Elephants got into the knockouts by the skin of their teeth after which they went on an incredible run of comeback wins including a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final. A truly remarkable fairytale unfolded.

Ronwen Williams And Bafana Bafana Recognized

In a tournament where the South African supporters’ opinions on Bafana Bafana have done an about-turn, there was to be more recognition and reward for the team and inspirational captain Ronwen Williams after earning bronze at the AFCON.

Bafana Bafana were awarded the Fair Play award for the tournament when they emerged as the most disciplined team throughout the entirety of the tournament. Skipper, Williams, was awarded the Golden Glove as he finished as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

William Troost-Ekong Elevated Despite Disappointment

Speaking of inspirational captains, William Troost-Ekong was awarded the Player of the Tournament and deservedly so for his contribution in getting the Super Eagles to the final.

It was through his header that Nigeria led in the final before relinquishing the lead. The centre-back had a fine tournament and despite the disappointing result they got as a team. He can be proud of his individual performances as he was excellent from start to finish.

Cape Verde Steal The Hearts Of Many

There was a swagger about Cape Verde throughout this tournament – their game was very easy on the eye. Bebe dazzled down the wing scoring world-class goals and instilling fear every time he stood over a free kick or set-piece.

Kelvin Pina broke up play in midfield and orchestrated those attacks beautifully. Vozinha was massive in between the posts. Their fans in the stands were vibrant and added colour to the tournament. It was a memorable AFCON for the island nation with a modest population of just half a million people.

The Best AFCON Yet? 

It was at the quarterfinals where 8 teams who had not qualified for the quarterfinals in the previous edition stood ready to fight for a place on the biggest stage where many started to wonder whether they weren’t watching the best AFCON tournament in the history of Africa’s biggest football showcase. It’s a silly notion considering the competition has over 60 years of history and this was the 34th edition.

But when one considers a 35-year-old defender-turned-striker was the top goal scorer. A goalkeeper saved 4 out of 5 penalties in a penalty shootout for the 1st time in the history of AFCON, the hosts had the most incredible run to the title and despite drawing 5 out of 7 games in the regular 90 minutes and extra time as well, DR Congo finished as the 4th best team in the competition. Suddenly the notion of the best AFCON of all time doesn’t seem so silly.

Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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