RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Monday, January 21

S14: Best African Cup of Nations Teams Over the Past 10 Competitions

Hey, guess what? This past weekend the 2013 African Cup of Nations kicked off in South Africa, and that is a thing I am casually interested in. Being this is a website inside of the American internet, where sort of interesting content is very often created by people casually interested in a thing, I figured what the fuck man, let me waste some time probably better spent on other things, and compile a list of the national football teams, African style, old sporting 14 list style, dork style, pure internet styles galore. So what I did was I broke open an Excel spreadsheet and calculated some functions and sorted some datas and went through the past ten African Cups, giving teams different points for how far they went each cup, and then powerfying them according to which one was most recent and which one was most farthest, and I came up with this totally scientific as fuck list of the Top 14 National Teams in the African Cup’s past ten tournaments, and will use this as a way to talk to you about what this team’s chances or whatever are for this African Cup.
You might be like, “Whoa whoa whoa… what the fuck is the African Cup of Nations?” Well, remember that shit about the UEFA Cup that was all over the ESPNs last fall, in Poland and the Ukraine, what which had white peoples from everywhere all talking about that shit, and people you never even knew were from Europe originally in your local locale started talking about shit like Wayne Rooney or Portugal or racism in the Ukraine or the local Irish pub that serves Guinness on tap? This is the African version. It was supposed to be in Libya, but then Libya came apart at the political seams in 2011 and traded spots with South Africa, who was gonna host this shit in 2017, so Libya will be all better by then I’m sure and be able to host the African Cup of Nations. There’s always some sort of craziness with the African Cup, like a country’s team is abducted or absolved or killed in a plane crash or there’s a civil war or something. So let’s travel through this wonderful continent that was the mother of all humanity...
#1: EGYPT aka The Pharaohs – Not even competing in this one; ranked 54th in the World by the FIFA. Egypt has won more African Cups than anybody – 7 – and even set a record in the early 2000s by winning or tying 19 straight games. They won this bama in 2006, 2008, and 2010. But during World Cup qualifying in 2010, they lost a controversial play-in game with Algeria, and the national team has pretty much gone into disarray ever since then, not qualifying for the 2012 CAN (aka African Cup) or this one in 2013 (which switched to odd years to avoid World Cup crossover). To their credit, they have two wins in their first two games of African group qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, and I am sure the fine folks of Egypt would rather have the nation’s third appearance in the World Cup than anything else, especially post-Mubarak era.
#2: CAMEROON aka The Indomitable Lions – Also not in the field of this 2013 CAN, and ranked 67th in the World by the FIFA. Cameroon is tied for second-most CAN titles having won four, just like Ghana. They’ve actually made the knockout phase (final eight) of the African Cup seven times in a row, before not qualifying in 2012. The early 2000s saw Cameroon as one of the Third World’s best football teams, almost cracking the FIFA top 10, and they’ve qualified for six of the past eight World Cups. They also are notable for controversial uniforms, as they had sleeveless bamas in Africa in 2002, which the World Cup wouldn’t let them wear. And then in 2004, Puma designed one-piece outfits for Cameroon (lolol) which FIFA declared illegal, even though there was no official wording saying shirts and shorts needed to be separate articles of clothing. As many things football-related end up doing, it went through international court systems, and Cameroon agreed to wear two-piece uniforms, and the FIFA gave them back their qualifying points that had been stolen by white men from Europe.
#3: NIGERIA aka The Super Eagles – In Group C of the African Cup, ranked 52nd by the FIFA. The 1990s saw one of the African continent’s best national team runs ever as Nigeria not only qualified but won their group in both the 1994 and 1998 World Cup, failing to win their first knock-out game in both however. Still though, those runs gave African teams confidence in their hyper-speed style of play. Nigeria, as you can see by their FIFA ranking, is not as great as it was when it was considered one of the best 5 teams on the Earth. Nigeria won the CAN twice, but not since 1994 when they were truly the Super Eagles, but has finished 2nd or 3rd four of the past six African Cups. They were, however, tied by lowly Burkina Faso in their first game this African Cup, which inspired THIS amazing celebration by the Burkina Faso goalkeep.
#4: COTE D’IVOIRE aka Les Elephants – In Group D aka the African group of death, ranked 14th by FIFA. Cote d’Ivoire, led by good ol’ Didier Drogba, is the darling of the African continent currently, with the highest FIFA ranking of any nation. (Algeria, also in Group D, is the second-highest ranked team according to FIFA nerdery.) The thing is though, until the rise of Drogba, Cote d’Ivoire has little international presence. They’ve qualified for the past two World Cups, but not made it out of the group stage. In the African Cup, they had a run in the early ‘90s where they won in ’92 and finished third in ’94, but that’s their high. They’ve finished fourth in ’08, and lost the championship in ’06 and ’12, but have yet to win the Cup during the Drogba era. This might be their last chance to do so, as he is already transitioning into circus show stage of his career, playing in China for big money against lesser competition.
#5: GHANA aka The Black Stars – In Group B, ranked 26th in the World by the FIFA football ranking organization that is totally corrupt. Look, I will be honest, Ghana is my favorite team from the whole world, as the entire history of gaining independence before any other African colonial country, slapping a black star on their flag, and becoming proud soccer players, is a story that is unparalleled in Africa. Add to this weird Ghanaian movie house homemade movie posters, and a country that produces the best hip hop on the continent (fuck you Nigeria), and Ghana is the place I often convince my ol’ lady we should relocate to before America completely disintegrates into financial chaos and cultural Armageddon. They’re tied for second with 4 African Cup titles, but haven’t won it all since 1982. In 2010, the Black Stars became only the third African team in historical foreverness to make it to the World Cup quarterfinals, losing in that round to Uruguay in a heart-breaking game I watched on a laptop sitting on the hood of a 1972 Pontiac Catalina (for real – word to the Fresh Dipped). Had they won, they’d have been the first African team to make the semifinals, ever. Here’s hoping to 2014 in Brazil! And here’s A SONG to hype you up about it!
#6: TUNISIA aka the Eagles of Carthage – Trapped in Group D, and ranked 53rd worldwide by the FIFA. Tunisia won this is 2004, but has drawn a group that features the two best current teams from the African continent. They’ll kick off group play tomorrow in a border bash against Algeria. They’ve qualified for four World Cups, including three in a row from 1998 through 2006, but are most famous amongst African football historians for being the first African nation to win a game in the World Cup, beating Mexico 3 to 1 in 1978. Ultimately, African football history on the international stage has been a slow-growth process of post-Colonial independence, as displayed through the prism of sports. This also is why I always root for African teams in the World Cup. Fuck the first world.
#7: ZAMBIA aka The Copper Bullets – In Group C, also the defending champions of the African Cup, and ranked 39th in the World. They’ve qualified for five World Cups, with very limited success there, and been a top team in African from time to time, but never won the African Cup until last year. Thus, there has been a cash bounty placed on them repeating as champions, as it is a proud moment for Zambians. I mean, sometimes I have to mail in these blurbs because I don’t feel like writing anything, so I just say really normal shit like that. It sucks, but luckily I don’t know any Zambians who will be insulted by it. I guess maybe that’s not lucky I don’t know Zambians, as perhaps my life would be more enriched with their influence.
#8: MALI aka Les Aigles which means Les Eagles – In Group B, ranked 25th by the FIFA. As of writing this, the first six games of this year’s African Cup have resulted in five draws, with Mali’s win over Niger (aka the N-country for poor spellers) being the only outright victory. Mali is the top-ranked team in this year’s competition that has never won an African Cup, and much like throughout their history, they are currently experiencing chaos and unrest at home. In fact, Mali has had to withdraw or didn’t even bother to enter qualifying for every World Cup up until 2002. Even then, in 2006, when they lost a qualifying game against Togo on a last second goal, riots broke out afterwards. So they’ve never won the African Cup and never even made the World Cup, and still are ranked 25th in the World right now. If you are a fan of chaos, I suggest you pull for Les Aigles.
#9: SENEGAL aka the Lions of Teranga – Unqualified for this African Cup, ranked 79th internationally by the FIFA. Senegal’s high watermark of historical footballdom came in 2002 when they made the quarterfinals of the World Cup. They’ve never won the African Cup, though they did finish 2nd in that 2002 year of greatness, and finished 3rd multiple times, as recently as 2006. But they’re not even in the field this odd-ass year.
#10: SOUTH AFRICA aka The Stupid South Africans – The host country and in weak-ass Group A, ranked 85th in the World. You may remember that South Africa hosted the last World Cup, which had those vuvuzelas making noise all over the place. I can only assume that shit is going on again at the African Cup. I fully support the use of cheap plastic horns; fuck the haters. That being said, I never cared much culturally for South Africa, even after apartheid ended, because I don’t know, it seems like the one African country that would be next to Florida on an imaginary map’s geopolitical reconfiguration of the Earth’s nations. That means it’s not so desirable. (Apologies to all Floridians and South Africans who are cool peeps though; keep it real y’all.) And actually their nickname is Bafana Bafana, which is Afrikaaner for “the Stupid South Africans” I think.
#11: MOROCCO aka The Lions of the Atlas – Another quality Group A team, and ranked 74th internation-style by FIFA. I don’t know, I’m getting kinda bored of this, and thinking about Morocco makes me wish I could smoke some hash, so I’m going to take my writing tincture and zone out to some Wino acoustic troubadour metal goodness for a little while.
#12: ALGERIA aka the Green Desert Foxes – In Group D, ranked 22nd in the World. Most of what I know about Algeria and Algerians was taught to me by an Egyptian co-worker right after Algeria beat Egypt in World Cup qualifying in 2010 and the two countries almost went to war. Algerians are dirty, smelly people, and carry giant swords around and kill people for no good reason, and are a country of thugs and murderers who wouldn’t respect the word of The Prophet if it was given to them right before their eyes. And really, they stink.
#13: ANGOLA aka The Sable Antelopes – In Group A, and ranked 78th by the FIFA. Look, all I know is Angola has the best flag in the whole wide world, because they are one of the last Communist countries left, and their flag features the traditional hammer and sickle image re-imagined with half a cog and a machete. I would love to have one of these. If you are reading this right now (which I doubt anybody is) and you were to buy me a full-sized Angolan flag and send it to my PO Box, you would be my most favorite person for at least three weeks. At least. That is not me begging either, because if I was going to beg for a flag I would beg for the old style Rwandan flag, pre-genocide style, which had the traditional African red and green and yellow with a basic black R right in the middle. That shit is tight as fuck.
#14: GUINEA aka the National Elephants – Not even in this bitch, ranked 61st by FIFA. They’ve never qualified for the World Cup, and were even banned from international competition at one point in the early 2000s due to government interference. They were runner-up in the 1976 African Cup, but have never made it beyond the quarterfinals other than that. And yet they consistently appear in the tournament, maintaining mid-card status in African football team. And with that vague wrestling-reference, I am out of this bitch. WATCH AFRICAN CUP GAMES ON WHATEVER ESPN IS ON THE INTERWEBS, OR BETTER YET GO TO SOME FOREIGN ASS WEBSITES AND DO SO, BECAUSE HONESTLY IF AFRICAN HISTORY HAS TAUGHT US ANYTHING IT SHOULD BE FUCK AMERICA.

3 comments:

kami said...

no cameroon??? how can it be legit without them bastards?

Raven Mack said...

Yeah, I meant to look up the qualifying process because it seems odd that both Cameroon and Egypt are not in it. Of course, I'm pulling for Angola.

kami said...

got all excited... african games were listed on tv.. but it was the one sports channel i dont have in my damn package!!