African Nations Cup 2010

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Stan JamesThe 2010 African Cup of Nations started in controversy after the bus carrying the Togo team was attacked. This led to the withdrawal of the squad before a ball had even been kicked.

Angola were the hosts for the first time and kicked off proceedings in the opening game against Mali in Group A on 10th January. The other two teams in the group were Malawi and World Cup qualifiers Algeria.

Group B at first glance appeared to be the toughest group in the 2010 African Nations Cup. It also contained an array of Premiership stars such as Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Emanuel Adebayor who were representing the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo respectively. Due to Togo's withdrawal the group was made up of only three teams, the other being Burkina Faso.

Group C contained the 2008 winners (and winners of the most African Nations Cup titles) Egypt along with Nigeria, Mozambique and Benin. This was another fiercely-contested group that also boasted a number of Premier League regulars. The 'Super Eagles' of Nigeria alone had around seven UK-based players in their regular squad.

Group D favourites and former winners Cameroon again had the distinction of beng represented by a player, their captain Rigobert Song, who is one of only two players to be sent off in two different World Cups. Cameroon faced Gabon, Zambia and the 2004 African Nations Cup winners Tunisia.

The competition was held at just 4 separate venues with the final being held in the capital Luanda on 31st January. Each team played the other 3 teams in their group once with the top 2 from each group progressing to the knockout stage.

Pre-tournament favourites, Ivory Coast, were unexpectedly knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Algeria which meant a fiery semi final against their neighbours and rivals Egypt. Although Algeria had qualified for the 2010 World Cup at Egypt's expense, on this occasion the result was the other way round as Egypt knocked out Algeria to set up a final with Ghana. Egypt beat Ghana 1-0 in Luanda to win the tournament for a record 7th time.

All five African nations who qualified for 2010 World Cup in South Africa had played in the African Nations Cup.

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