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Africa Cup of Nations: Cameroon seal title with comeback win

Cameroon won their fifth Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Sunday night, beating Egypt 2-1 in a thrilling final.


Africa Cup of Nations: Egypt reaches final

Egypt has reached the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) final after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over brave Burkina Faso on Wednesday night.


Africa Cup of Nations: Bance fires Burkina Faso into semis

It had to be Aristide Bancé. The bristling, bleach-haired crowd favourite was the cult hit of Burkino Faso's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) run, a “Panenka” penalty in the semi-final against Ghana sealing his status.


Africa Cup of Nations: East Africa’s only team crashes out

Boys play football and practice balancing tricks in a poor market area of Uganda’s capital Kampala. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/SIPAUganda’s journey back to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) took 39 years. It is a tale of decline, instability and near-misses before the Cranes finally qualified for the 2017 tournament with a team full of youthful promise. Now, after two weeks and two defeats in Gabon, they have only pride to play for ahead of their return to Kampala.


Africa Cup of Nations: Algeria face early exit after derby defeat

Algeria's, Riyad Mahrez, centre, is challenged by Tunisia's, Ali Maaloul, left, and Ferjani Sassi, right, during the African Cup of Nations Group B footbsll match at Stade de Franceville Stadium, Gabon. Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPAAlgeria, a tournament favourite, find themselves in deep trouble in Group B after a 2-1 defeat to Tunisia in Franceville on Thursday night. They will need to beat a rampant Senegal in their final group game to stand a chance of reaching the quarter-finals.


Africa Cup of Nations: Côte d’Ivoire's Gervinho sees bright future for new generation

Côte d’Ivoire's forward Gervinho celebrates with a medal after winning Côte d’Ivoire's first African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPAAt the last Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) two years ago, Côte d’Ivoire's forward Gervinho could not bring himself to watch the final moments of the tournament.


Africa Cup of Nations: Gabon's $75m stadium fails to impress in first match

Gabon's new stadium in Oyem was barely finished in time for its first scheduled match. Photo: Taimour Lay/The Africa ReportIt is hard to avoid the conclusion that Gabon's newly-built Stade D’Oyem will prove a folly in the jungle.

The stadium is located in Oyem, which is about 300 km north from the country's capital Libreville, and has 60,000 inhabitants. The dusty timber trading town was already served by one football ground – small crowds turn out to watch Union Sportive play league games here.

But hosting the Africa Cup of Nations was said to require a new stadium and it hurriedly built by a Chinese construction company in time for the tournament. In December, construction workers worked around the clock to finish the stadium, which cost about $75m to build, according to leaked documents.

Last September, Oyem was the scene of protests against President Ali Bongo following a disputed presidential election. The government claims a police officer was shot. New billboards lining the main road declare: “We change together”.

By kick-off on Monday evening, the diggers and cement trucks lingered near the stadium, and rubble and earth was piled high around the perimeter. On the small air-strip, with the empty shell of a new terminal building, private charter planes and a military helicopter announced the arrival of ministers and VIPs throughout the morning.

Inside, yellow water ran from the taps. However, the 20,000 seats were in place, even if less than half were occupied for the match. No one could explain why the stadium lies 20 km outside Oyem itself, cut out of deep jungle that is likely – post-Afcon – to swallow it up again through disuse.

No goals to show

Côte d’Ivoire, Afcon's defending champions, were the leading attraction in the first game at the stadium. Unfortunately, the match fell short of the stadium's the $120m expense as they opened with a 0-0 draw against Emmanuel Adebayor’s Togo.

Largely becalmed and lethargic, Les Elephants struggled to break down the Togolese, whose canny organisation owes much to their Afcon veteran manager Claude Le Roy.

Wilfried Zaha made his first competitive start for Côte d’Ivoire and showed flashes of promise down right, including a trademark cross in the 35th minute which Serge Gapke did well to clear without sending the ball into his own net. Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia then glanced a header wide after the break.

In truth, they offered little and Togo can point to half-chances of their own, in particular when Mathieu Dossevi was clean through but couldn’t evade Sylvain Gbohouo.

In the absence of the Toure brothers, and without Gervinho through injury, Côte d’Ivoire’s new generation have something to prove in this tournament. While Franck Kessie and Jean Seri prompted from midfield, there was a lack of thrust which Wilfried Bony’s introduction upfront in the second half did little to resolve.

Claude Le Roy, who took unfancied Congo through the group stages in 2015, was pleased with a point. “It was satisfying, we had a plan, we perspired for it and both sides showed a lot of quality,” he said.

The biggest cheer of the night came when Adebayor departed for a well-earned breather. The former Arsenal striker has been without a club for months but returned during the Afcon qualifiers to help his side to Gabon. With Le Roy and his talisman in sync, Les Eperviers may yet spring more surprises in Group C.

Côte d’Ivoire's manager Michel Dussuyer accepted that his side had fallen short. “Our opponent was very disciplined and they have a seasoned coach," he said. "My regret is that we didn’t use the flanks enough – we lacked mobility."

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