Five stars of the Cup of Nations
29 January 2015, 14:35
Malabo - Five standout performers from the group stage of this year's Africa Cup of Nations, which concluded on Wednesday evening:
-- IBRAHIMA TRAORE (Guinea)
In the absence of the injured Kamil Zayatte, the diminutive Borussia Moenchengladbach attacker has worn the captain's armband for Guinea. And he has led by example, troubling opponents from his position on the wing. In the opening game against the Ivory Coast it was his cross that led to a goal for Mohamed Yattara. And against Cameroon his superb strike into the far corner that earned Guinea a 1-1 draw was one of the goals of the round.
-- FELIPE OVONO (Equatorial Guinea)
There were several excellent performers for the hosts as they qualified for the quarter-finals from Group A and none more so than unheralded goalkeeper Felipe Ovono. The young shotstopper is one of the few members of the Equatorial Guinea squad based in the local league, but he will have attracted plenty of admiring glances with his displays in keeping clean sheets against Burkina Faso and in the decisive win against Gabon.
-- THIEVY BIFOUMA (Congo Brazzaville)
Claude Le Roy's achievement in taking Congo Brazzaville to the last eight has been remarkable, although it would not have been possible without the goals of France-born striker Bifouma. The 22-year-old of Spanish top-flight side Almeria struck with just three minutes left to earn Congo a 1-1 draw with the hosts in the tournament's opening game and then got the first goal in the 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso, which took his country through to the last eight for the first time since 1992.
-- AHMED AKAICHI (Tunisia)
Tunisia's hopes of having a successful Cup of Nations were dealt a major blow just before the competition began when forwards Saber Khalifa and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef were forced to withdraw due to injuries. Akaichi, of leading Tunis side Esperance, was one of those called up by coach Georges Leekens as a last-minute replacement and he has not let the Carthage Eagles down. He scored the equaliser as Tunisia came from behind to beat Zambia 2-1 in their second game and then came up with a real poachers' finish to score in the 1-1 draw with DR Congo that secured their qualification for the last eight.
-- MADJID BOUGHERRA (Algeria)
The experienced centre-back did not play in Algeria's opening game, a 3-1 win against South Africa. However, he returned in place of Rafik Halliche to captain the side in their 1-0 defeat against Ghana and was a rock in the heart of the back line in the decisive 2-0 victory over Senegal that secured a place in the last eight for Christian Gourcuff's much-fancied team.