Archive for tag: Africa Cup of Nations.

Howay the (African) Lads!

January 19th, 2012 | 46 Comments |

Africa Cup of Nations
Africa Cup of Nations
The recent signing of Senegal striker Papiss Cisse by United added to the fact that Demba Ba is also a Senegal star potentially means that Geordie fans will take more of an interest in the African Cup Of Nations (ACON) which kicks off this weekend. And of course we also have our very own (at least at the time of writing!) Cheick Tiote involved as part of the Ivory Coast team.

Obviously, we hope the lads do well – but not too well considering the legions of scouts who will be out there – and that they return to Tyneside fit and injury-free. Here’s a look at the two teams that our African players will be representing.

Senegal – The Lions Of Teranga

The Senegal national football team are nicknamed “The Lions Of Teranga”. They first appeared in the World Cup in 2002 and made an immediate name for themselves by beating France 1-0 in the opening game of the tournament. They made it to the quarter finals that year eventually going out to Turkey. Subsequently, they failed to qualify in 2006 and 2010.

The team have featured more regularly in the ACoN since 1965, their most successful year being 2002 when they were runners-up. Senegal qualified for the finals of the ACON as top of their group, winning 5 of their 6 games between September 2010 and October 2011. This included a 9-0 aggregate demolition of Mauritius and notably beating Cameroon 1-0 at home and drawing 0-0 away. (more…)

Is Newcastle right to be prioritise strengthening defence over attack?

January 6th, 2012 | 25 Comments |

Demba Ba due a leave of absence from Newcastle United for ACoN.
Is another Ba the highest priority?
Newcastle United are set lose Demba Ba to the Africa Cup of Nations soon, yet it seems the club is concentrating more on strengthening the team in defence rather than attack. Is this the right decision?

Much was rumoured recently about us not being in for a striker this January after the Maiga deal fell through but, with Demba Ba due to leave for the African Cup of Nations very soon, how will we cope?

When Pardew was asked recently if we can cope without Ba and Tiote, he said:

Obviously, I am hoping so, but they are two massive players. You take a huge figure out of one of the other teams and it’s significant. If you took Rooney out of Manchester United, probably they wouldn’t look the same for seven games, so you have to accept that.

Having said that, we have got players who are champing at the bit. Hatem Ben Arfa wants a chance, Leon Best wants to show what he showed last year, Peter Lovenkrands will be eager to throw his hat in the ring, so we have still got great players in the club and we hope that we can keep the momentum and the form going.

We have just approached one game at a time, but we have got to the halfway stage in seventh place and that’s significant. It can only arm us with confidence to go forward.

So how will Pardew line things up at the front?


The Africa Cup of Nations and Newcastle United – A Geordie’s guide.

December 24th, 2011 | 15 Comments |

Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote.
Ba and Mr.T: Out for Africa.
As most of you will no doubt be aware, the Africa Cup of Nations will be taking place next month.

This incredibly awkward competition is held bi-annually, unlike the European Championships which are held every four years. Also unlike the Euros, it is also usually held right in the middle of the bloody football season! This time the tournament will be jointly hosted by Gabon and Equitorial Guinea from January 21 to February 12 2012, but players will usually be called for duty by their national teams some time before that, even as early as the 8th of January for pre tournament training camps and warm up games.

Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba will definitely be there representing the Ivory Coast and Senegal respectively. Inspired by Manchester City, who also wish to hold back their talisman midfielder, Yaya Toure, from joining Tiote in the Ivory Coast team for as long as possible, Alan Pardew is now trying to delay Ba’s and Tiote’s departure until around the 15th January.

If Pardew and City manager Roberto Mancini fail in their quest to hold the players back until the middle of the month, the two Silver Supremos could be missing their important players for as many as six or seven games according to my calculation. Of course, this will almost certainly have a much greater effect on the Magpies than it will on moneybags Man City with their wealth of strength in depth. In Newcastle United’s case the potential games missed will be the following if Tiote and Ba depart on the 8th January: (more…)

Can we cope without Demba Ba?

November 9th, 2011 | 21 Comments |

Demba Ba to be absent from the Newcastle line-up for 3 weeks+
How much will he be missed?
Is the Africa Cup of Nations going to cause serious problems for Newcastle United, particularly in relation to Demba Ba?

The Africa Cup of Nations (ACoN) has its first group game on the 21st January and the final is on 12th February, which means that players will be away from their respective clubs for potentially 3 weeks of tournament time plus preparation/recovery time.

For Newcastle, that means the loss of two of this season’s top performers: Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote. Ba’s Senegal is in Group A along with Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Zambia whilst Tiote’s Ivory Coast is in Group B along with Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola.

Gossip abounds about Pardew’s desire to recruit a new striker, although if Modibo Maiga is that striker then we’re no better off during the ACoN because Mali is also in the tournament.

I would not imagine that the club will be recruiting a striker simply for a 3-week tournament anyway, so presumably Pardew intends to cover for the ACoN with the players he has already got. That could mean a start for Shola (if he’s fit) or for Benny, either of who could play up front with Leon Best.

The worry of course is how we’d cope without the player who has scored half of our 16 league goals this season. Ba had this to say about his absence: (more…)