African Nations Cup Upsets

11 January 2006 at 04:28 | 1138 views

By Peter Law

The Nations Cup has produced some huge upsets over the years
Ask fans which African Nations Cup they loved most and chances are you will get different answers.

After all, who you are rooting for will determine which tournaments and games are most memorable.

The Nations Cup has indeed produced its fair share of upsets over the years but which matches stand out?

African football historian Peter Law recalls five of the biggest shocks in Nations Cup history:

CONGO-KINSHASA 1-0 GHANA (Addis Ababa, 1968)

CJ Attuquayefio played for Ghana in the 1968 final
Having won the 1963 and ’65 tournaments without losing a single match, Ghana went into the 1968 final as overwhelming favourites.

The Black Stars fielded players of the calibre of Osei Kofi, CJ Attuquayefio, Wilberforce Mfum alongside Ibrahim Sunday.

But they were made to eat huge slices of humble pie by Congo-Kinshasa after a nail-biting final.

Ghana had overcome the Ivory Coast in a seven-goal thriller in the semi-finals while the Congolese had beaten hosts Ethiopia 3-2 in the other semi.

The central Africans soaked up tremendous early pressure and registered a 1-0 upset, thanks to a 66th-minute goal from Kalala, who controlled the ball on his chest before firing home.

Having ruined Ghana’s hopes of a third straight African title, Kalala then received the Nations Cup trophy from Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie.

EGYPT 0-1 SENEGAL (Cairo, 1986)

Jules Bocande led Senegal’s attack in the 1986 finals
Egypt staged the finals for the third time in 1986, just months after hosting England on their first ever visit to Africa.

Without an African title since 1959, the Pharaohs were desperate for victory and their opening game was against debutants Senegal.

Coached by Briton Mike Smith, Egypt struggled to make an impact, and as a goalless first half wore on, looked nervous and anxious.

Senegal had some useful players in their side, including a forward line of Jules Bocande and Thierno Youm.

Midway through the second half, Youm pounced to give Senegal the lead when his shot flew past El Batal.

The Senegalese held out for a famous victory but the hosts managed to rediscover their form to advance to the final against Cameroon, winning the title for the third time.

IVORY COAST 3-0 ALGERIA (Ziguinchor, 1992)

Rabah Madjer was Algeria’s leading light in the 1990s
Led by the mercurial Rabah Madjer, Algeria went into the 1992 tournament as defending champions after winning the 1990 tournament on home soil.

The holders opened against the Ivory Coast in Ziguinchor, fielding a team well stocked with Europe-based professionals.

The Elephants had men like goalkeeper Alain Gouamene, Abdoulaye Traore and Youssouf Fofana in their ranks.

On a hot afternoon, the Desert Foxes found themselves involved in a tough encounter and by the break the Elephants led 2-0, thanks to goals by Abdoulaye Traore and Youssouf Fofana.

Striker Tiehi fired home a third goal just before full time to see the Elephants home by an emphatic scoreline.

The defeat marked the end of a very productive cycle for Algerian football between 1980 and 1990.

TUNISIA 0-2 MALI (Tunis, 1994)

Chokri El Ouaer was beaten twice by Mali in a huge Nations Cup upset
Tunisia had prepared for the 1994 tournament with encouraging draws against European opposition in the shape of the Netherlands and Germany.

Mali were cast as sacrificial lambs in the opening match against the hosts but the Eagles had clearly not read the script, and were not overawed on a hot, sunny day in Tunis.

The hosts began positively, creating early chances which put the Eagles under considerable pressure.

Mali had a game plan and were happy to play on the counter-attack. It worked a treat.

After 23 minutes, they broke dangerously with Traore playing a low cross to Coulibaly, who eluded two markers and sent a low shot just wide of Chokri El Ouaer’s dive.

Ten minutes before the break, the Eagles extended their lead with a fine free-kick from the edge of the box by Toure to set up what one commentator called "one of the classical anti-climaxes of any tournament I can recall."

Throughout a tense second half, the hosts struggled to unlock a massed defence as the Eagles held on for a famous 2-0 victory that triggered big celebrations right across Mali.

In Tunisia the following day, one paper carried a picture of national coach Youssef Zouaui will the caption: "Is this man really a football trainer?" He was dismissed.

SOUTH AFRICA 3-0 CAMEROON (Johannesburg, 1996)

Phil Masinga scored in South Africa’s shock win over Cameroon
The opening game of the 1996 finals pitted newcomers South Africa against Cameroon, back at the finals after missing Tunisia 1994.

The Indomitable Lions had missed a flight from Yaoundé and had had little time to acclimatise.

President Nelson Mandela managed to arrive on time, and on a sunny day saw the visitors dominated the early exchanges.

However, once Phil Masinga broke through a lax defence to fire Bafana Bafana ahead after just 12 minutes, the floodgates opened.

Mark Williams made it 2-0 after the visitors’ defence failed to clear a corner. The hosts then wrapped up the game with a neat goal from John ’Shoes’ Moshoeu.

A week later, Bafana Bafana were African champions four years after being re-admitted into the international fold.

Source: BBC

Photo: Jules Bocande, Senegal’s 1986 saviour.