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2013 AFCON - Group C: Why Zambia and Nigeria are prone to suffer upsets

January 16, 2013 By Angela Asante
Champions Zambia and ambitious Nigeria dream big, Burkina Faso must fight for pride and the Black Lions of Ethiopia are back after 31 years in the wilderness. This is Group C.

Zambia are the reigning 2013 Africa Cup of Nations champions.Zambia

For many, the Chipolopolo’s triumph at the 2012 AFCON was purely a matter of luck. However, coach Herve Renard will be out to prove that his side deserved the cup. Defending the title will not be easy but putting on a good show is a must for the reigning African champions.

The Zambians enter the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa on the wrong foot having failed to score a single goal in January. Three warm-up matches ended in one defeat and two consecutive draws against Angola, Morocco and Norway respectively. 


Victory in soccer is mostly about scoring. Will the Chipolopolo be able to find their way through past Group C?


The Super Eagles are fierce. Their last showing at a major tournament was in South Africa – not for the Africa Cup of Nations but for the FIFA World Cup. World football’s followers all watched as Nigeria performed below expectations.

Their group stage exit gave birth to chaos back home. Footballers like Yakubu Aiyegbeni became the target of angry fans. After years of reshuffling, Nigeria feel ready to step onto the big stage again. In this 21st century, the Super Eagles have the reputation of scooping bronze medals. They finished third in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010. How far will they go at the 2013 AFCON?

Burkina Faso

‘Les Etalons’ are the underdogs in Group C. They have played at the AFCON eight times in their history. However, they managed to go past the first round only once. That was in 1998 when they finished in fourth position. 2013 AFCON in South Africa from January 19 to February 10, 2013.

In their last Africa Cup of Nations tournament, Burkina Faso did very little to upset their group opponents. They played thrice and lost thrice. Luck did not favour Burkina Faso in the group stage draw for CAN 2013. 

They face an uphill task with African champions Zambia and Africa powerhouse Nigeria in the same section. Going past Round 1 would be an achievement to cherish for Burkina Faso as it would kick out one of Group C’s two favourites.


The outsiders of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations cannot be underestimated. Surprises always mark big events and this time, Ethiopia could be the team to fear in that regard. 

The Black Lions have a good AFCON history. However, football has changed and Ethiopia’s successes in the 1950s and 1960s are now something of the past. They will be making their first ever CAN appearance in 31 years. 

While there is absolutely no pressure on Ethiopia to succeed, the momentum in the camp is high as they go into the tournament undefeated in their warm-up matches. Africa’s giant teams must be wary of the Black Lions.

Group C matches

January 21, 2013: Zambia vs Ethiopia

January 21, 2013: Nigeria vs Burkina Faso

January 25, 2013: Zambia v Nigeria

January 25, 2013: Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia

January 29, 2013: Burkina Faso vs Zambia

January 29, 2013: Ethiopia vs Nigeria

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