The finest of Africa’s players will trade tackles as the quest to know the best African football team begins January 19 in South Africa.
Sixteen teams are vying for the trophy, which was last won by Zambia, a year ago, when Gabon and Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the championship.
Normally, the African Nations Cup is held every two years, so this year’s edition is special, as the Confederation of African football seeks to ensure that Africa’s biggest game is not held in the same year as football’s biggest fiesta, the FIFA World Cup.
US$53.3 million has been earmarked for the games and after a year full of flurry, the gladiators chosen and raring to go, South Africa is ready to host the impromptu games.
If antecedents are anything to go by, the Rainbow Nation is set to do Africa proud by hosting yet another successful tournament, after all they hosted the World Cup in 2010, Africa Nations Cup in 1996, first time and they won, hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and all climaxed in success.
Five cities will be hosting the fierce but healthy brotherly rivalry, and they are …
Soccer City, Johannesburg, with a capacity of 80,000 will host the opening and final matches of AFCON 2013
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, built specifically for the 2010 World Cup, this stadium is named after a hero of the working class people in South Africa; Moses Mabhida , with 54,000 seats it will host all group A matches, except the final match in the Group stage between Cape Verde and Angola. The centre will also host a match in the quarter and semi final.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth will host eight matches including all the Group B matches except the final group game between DR Congo and Mali. The stadium can accommodate up to 48,500 spectators. A quarter final match is also slated to hold at the venue.
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit will host all Group C matches, the defending champion, Zambia and Nigeria are favorites in this group, other teams in the group are Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, at full capacity the stadium seats 41,000 spectators, the turf will also be ignited during the quarter finals as well as the semis.
Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Rustenburg, the 42,000-seater stadium will host six group stage games (all Group D matches except the final game between Togo and Tunisia) and and a quarter-final encounter. The venue and people of Rustenburg will be fortunate to host the last group game between Ethiopia and Nigeria.
Full Fixtures below
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