p6-11 FFT’S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE2012 CUPOFNATIONS We’ve got the stories and the stats on all 16 competing teams – including an exclusive interview with Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan p12-13 KIT GUIDE We interview the artists behind the unique Puma shirts lighting up Gabon and Equatorial Guinea p14-21 THEGROUPS Find out each nation’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key match-ups, in FFT’s in-depth previews. Oh, and Samuel Eto’o gives us his verdict on every team p22 THE LOWDOWN All the times and channels that every armchair fan needs, as well as a guide to the stadiums
Editor David Hall Commissioning editor Louis Massarella Production editor Charlie Ghagan Features editor Hitesh Ratna Art editor Anthony Moore Designers David Robinson, Matt Fasken Sub editors Chris McDonald, Huw Davies, Richard Purvis Picture editor Jeff Beasley Writer Jonathan Wilson Publishing manager Ollie Stretton Brand director Hugh Sleight Production controller Roxy Agius Thanks to Dominique Gathier, Terence Parris, Tim Stedman and all at Puma; Gerard Brand, Tom Stewart
Welcome to our football festival
By Steven Pienaar, South Africa and Tottenham Hotspur winger
he Africa Cup of Nations is always a huge occasion, because it is one of the biggest football tournaments on the planet. It’s such an important moment for the fans of every country and a celebration of African football as a whole. Africans are crazy about football and the way this tournament brings the whole continent together to enjoy the game is very inspiring.
The Africa Cup of Nations is very different to other tournaments and combines everything that is special about African football. There has been much poverty and several civil wars throughout the continent over the past few decades, and during all this football has been the only sport that could really bring people together. The supporters are very passionate and the atmosphere during a tournament, both in the stadiums and around the streets, is crazy! Everywhere is filled with music, colour, dancing and a huge love of the game. Going to a Cup of Nations match is like going to a festival.
There were a few surprises during the qualification stage for this year’s tournament and some of the strongest African teams like Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria and us, South Africa, did not qualify. This means
“Therecould be surprises – there’s no team that you could rule out of winning it”
that Ghana and Ivory Coast are probably the favourites going into the group stages. But we shouldn’t forget teams such as Morocco, Senegal and Mali, who all performed really well in qualification. So there could still be a few surprises, and I think there is actually no team you could completely rule out of winning it this year.
Then there are the hosts, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. It was amazing to play in the 2010 World Cup in my home country. It definitely gives you a special feeling to represent your nation in your own backyard. A highlight for me was the home fans, who totally embraced the event.
I’m sure the host nations this time around will get a lift from that.
Not qualifying for this year’s Cup of Nations and the circumstances around it happening were really hard; the whole of South Africa was so disappointed not to make it. We were in a tough group in which three teams had the chance to qualify going into the final round of matches, and it ended badly for us. But we are now focused on ensuring we are at our strongest for the 2013 Africa
Cup of Nations, which will be hosted in our country.
We already proved to everyone in 2010 that South Africa can host international tournaments of this scale, and 2013 will once again be a perfect opportunity for us to show the world our culture and enthusiasm for football.
Hopefully we can conquer the continent next time around! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this year’s tournament.”
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