Once again, Africa goes on it’s biggest football show piece, the Africa Cup of Nations, the 32nd edition in the competition’s history after the first ever showpiece in 1957, 62 years ago.
Since then the competition has undergone varying degrees of changes and of course different countries across the continent have since won it, some multiple times, others once while many still await their first win.
With as much as three countries making their debut appearances at the 2019 edition of the competition in Egypt and as well as 24 teams taking part for the first time in the bi-annual competition, Africa may see a New Champion arise by July 19. First let’s look at the past winners.
Winners: ×7 (1957, 1959, 1986, 1988, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Runners Up: 2
The pharaohs are synonymous with one thing, the African Cup of Nations, and although they may have only appeared at the World Cup just on two occasions, the North Africans have won a record 7 titles including a treble from 2006 to 2010, the last time they won it.
Of the seven times when they won it, three have come when they hosted the competition, a stat which pits them as favorites especially considering the fact they ended the last edition as runners up to Cameroon.
Winners: ×5 (1984,1988, 2000, 2002, 2017)
Runners Up: 2
The Indomitable Lions as they are fondly called are the second most successful side in Africa winning the Championship five times, pulling one clear of Ghana who have four.
The latest of their triumph came in 2017, 17 years after winning it last at the Ghana/Nigeria edition. Unlike Egypt, the Cameroonians have the record of becoming the first of only three African sides who have made the last eight of the world cup.
Even though they failed to qualify for the last World Cup in Russia, the defending Champions of the competition are still one of the favorites to lift it once again.
Ghana (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982)
Runners Up: 5
Black Stars of Ghana are the third most successful team in the competition having won it four times in their history. The first was in 1963 before adding another two years later.
It was not until 13 years after before they tasted Afcon glory again, adding the last one they won 4years later in 1982. However, there have been cases of near misses for the west Africans finishing second five times, the latest being in 2015.
Winners: ×3 (1980, 1994, 2013)
Runners Up: 4
The Super Eagles of Nigeria only lifted the third title six years ago which was the last time they featured at the tournament. Before then, the eagles won the Afcon in 1980 and 1994.
However, they hold the record for most semi final appearances and third place finish. Coached by German tactician, Gernort Rhor, the Super Eagles have only lost twice to African opposition in 19 appearances. With such numbers it would be difficult to write off the Nigerians.
Winners: ×2 (1992, 2015)
Runners Up: 2
Ivory coast’s first of their two triunphs came in 1992 before their golden generation which had Gervhino, Solomon Kalou and Yaya You’re went on to win the second elusive title in 2015 at the expense of Ghana.
The Elephants came close to winning twice as well first finishing second to Egypt in 2006 and losing shockingly to Zambia in 2012.
DR Congo (1968, 1974)
Runners Up: Nil
DR Congo won it’s two titles, first in 1968 as Congo Kinshasa and the second in 1974 as Zaire. They have never finished as runners-up
The rest on the list of former Champions include Zambia (2012), Tunisia (2006) and Sudan (1970) have all won it once and finished runners up twice. South Africa (1996), Algeria (1990), Ethiopia (1962), Morocco (1976), Congo (1972) have one title win each.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.