African Cup of Nations 2013: Teams That Have Impressed Early in Tournament

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 25, 2013

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 24:  Mubarak Wakaso (L) of Ghana and Seydou Keita of Mali during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between Mali and Ghana at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on January 24, 2013 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images

The African Cup of Nations is well underway as the group tables are starting to take shape. While there has been plenty of excitement, many teams have struggled to separate themselves from opponents. Eight out of the 14 matches played so far have ended in draws. 

These teams have impressed by getting points, showing potential or playing behind their expectations. 



The Blackstars got off to a disappointing start to the tournament after they blew a 2-0 lead to Congo DR and had to settle for a draw. They got back on the winning track in their second match as they beat Mali 1-0. Playing Niger in their final group match, Ghana should have no trouble advancing to the knockout stage. 

While they have played well, Ghana can still take their play to another level. Asamoah Gyan hasn't been as efficient as the Blackstars would like, but Kwadwo Asamoah has been largely impressive. He has looked dangerous as a facilitator. If Gyan can find his scoring touch, Asamoah will finish the tournament with some assists. 


Burkina Faso 

They played extremely well to draw group favorite Nigeria 1-1 in their first match and thrashed Ethiopia 4-0 to take four points into the final day in Group C.

Not only was the result of their dominance of Ethiopia impressive, but so was the way in which they won. With a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute, goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama was sent off. Not only did Burkina Faso hold the lead, they went on to score three more goals.

They face a tough match against cup holder Zambia in their final group match. If they can get a result, Burkina Faso will be heading to the knockout stage. It will take incredibly consistent play and some good fortune, but this team is capable of making a run.



Mali held off Niger in their first match before losing to Ghana in their second match. They haven't played their best football, but they've shown an ability to scrape out results and give them a chance to find their stride. They must do so against Congo DR, or the cup-hopefuls could be looking in at the knockout stage. 

In the two matches, Mali flashed its potential while struggling to find the net. If the goals start to pour in, they are in great shape to make a run. 


Ivory Coast and Tunisia

Both teams won their first match in the tournament and play each other in their second. Ivory Coast beat Togo 2-1, while Tunisia got a 1-0 result against Angola. Both teams will be looking to carry their strong play into the second match.