Draw glut no surprise - Bwalya

2015-01-26 08:28
AFCON 2015
AFCON 2015

Malabo - The glut of first-round draws at the 2015 Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea does not surprise former African superstar Kalusha Bwalya.

There have been 10 in 16 matches - the halfway mark of the biennial African football showpiece - with the drawing of lots looming as a tiebreaker in two of the four groups.

Eight of the 10 draws have been 1-1, including all four Group D games involving Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali in the capital Malabo.

But it is not yet a Cup of Nations first-round record.

When South Africa hosted the 2013 tournament there were 13 draws in 24 first-round matches, helped by Morocco and Zambia drawing all three group games.

However, if the five draws every eight matches trend continues in Equatorial Guinea, a new mark will be established during the remaining eight group fixtures.

Former striker Bwalya, who was voted 1988 African Footballer of the Year, puts the draw spate down to extreme competitiveness.

"The high number of draws does not surprise me as there is so little between the teams," said the Zambian football federation president.

"There are no obvious favourites to win this Cup of Nations - there are at least eight teams who could go all the way.

"Watch out for the outsiders, too. Burkina Faso were given no chance in 2013 and reached the final."

The number of first-round draws has varied considerably since the Cup of Nations expanded to 16 teams for the 1996 tournament in South Africa.

There were just three in 1996, in 2006 in Egypt and in 2012 in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, but 10 in 2002 in Mali.

While crowds in Malabo, Bata, Ebebiyin and Mongomo have been treated to many fiercely contested games, goals have been scarce with just 30 in the 16 games.

The record for first-round goals is 72 at the 1998 tournament in Burkina Faso, fuelled by a glut in a group including debutants Namibia.

The Namibian Brave Warriors were involved in three goal fests, losing 4-1 to South Africa and 4-3 to Ivory Coast and drawing 3-3 with Angola.

There were 70 mini-league goals at the 2008 Cup of Nations in Ghana while the low point was a paltry 35 in Mali 13 years ago.

No player at the 2015 tournament has scored more than once and the 30 goals include two penalties and one own goal.

Footballers tiring in 30-degree celsius heat (86 degrees fahrenheit) could explain why 22 of the goals have come after half-time.

Meanwhile, Ghana have been involved in two dramatic finishes, losing to a 93rd-minute goal by Senegal's Moussa Sow and winning through a 92nd-minute strike by captain Asamoah Gyan.

Read more on:    caf  |  afcon 2015  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.