Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Lessons learned as Mali claim third place
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: What lessons did we learn as Asamoah Gyan struggles but Mali's Seydou Keita finishes on a high?
Poor standard of football has cost Gyan
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has 21 goals in 14 games this season for United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain, but despite the figures, he looked largely out of his depth at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. The ex-Sunderland man may be earning almost treble what he was paid on Wearside but the league has clearly not developed him as a player, with the 27-year-old having scored just one goal in his side’s campaign. As captain, the Black Stars needed players like him to step up and lead them to their first trophy in 31 tears but instead, their tournament has once again ended in disappointment and fingers will be rightly pointed at their skipper.
Keita leads by example
In direct contrast to Gyan, Seydou Keita finished Mali’s tournament with two goals in the 3-1 win over Ghana to take his tally to three and end as his side’s top scorer. The 33-year-old joined Chinese side Dalian Aerbin from Barcelona in the summer but unlike his Ghanian counterpart, the Mali captain looks to have thrived in his unfamiliar surroundings and inspired his side to a well-deserved third place finish. Keita has scored 25 goals for Les Aigles despite playing in the centre of the park and has always come up big when his side have needed him – something Gyan can only dream of.
Third-placed playoffs may need rethinking
Despite the relatively good standard of football on show in Port Elizabeth, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium sported more empty seats than fans. While this year’s competition hasn’t exactly grabbed the hearts of the continent compared to previous editions, the third-place play-off seemed to be more of a hindrance to both sides in a battle for a medal which no-one really wanted. Maybe it’s time for a revamp of the tournament format in order to get both teams and spectators excited again and raise interest and attendance figures.