In the fifth and final installment of the African Nations Watch, we look back at the Semi Final and Final stages, which by now had a single point of Chelsea interest, in John Obi Mikel.
By now, of course, you’re likely aware that Michael Essien’s tournament ended prematurely due to a knee injury, and he was followed back to English shores by Salomon Kalou and Michael Essien in the Quarter Final stage. It meant that Mikel’s Nigeria were the sole team able to provide the Blues with a first nations cup winner, and to do so they would have to prevail against Ghana in Friday’s Semi Final. That they were unable to do, falling to a 28th minute header from Asamoah Gyan to lose 1-0 and end their hopes of a first title since 1994.
Mikel was rather disappointing throughout, as were the rest of the Super Eagles, but the Chelsea man did manage to create their best chance in the second half, providing a glorious ball for Obafemi Martins. The former Newcastle hitman was unfortunately denied by Richard Kingson and they saw Ghana progress ahead of themselves. Ghana would lose the Final to Egypt, who completed an unprecedented three-peat, but a moment of small solace came for Shaibu Amodou’s men as they claimed the bronze medal in winning the Third/Fourth Placed Playoff. In a much-changed team, Mikel came on for the last twelve minutes in replacing Kanu.
So with Angola 2010 now in the books, attentions turn first to the World Cup, and then the next Nations Cup in 2012, which will be hosted by both Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The Ivory Coast are likely to be powerhouse contenders again, although Didier Drogba has often stressed that 2010 may have been his last chance to win a major trophy with his beloved Elephants. Salomon Kalou will inevitably be kicking around, as will Essien and Mikel. We could be looking at even more involvement depending on activity in the transfer market, as the club continues to wait for an African champion.
Don’t forget that the Official Chelsea FC Website also has an African Cup of Nations Micro-site, which keeps you abreast of everything going on in Angola for Chelsea’s African quartet. You can view it here: