All set for 9th All Africa Games

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The 9th All Africa Games is set to officially begin on Monday, July 9 in the Algiers, the capital of Algeria.

This is the second time the North African country is hosting Africa’s version of the Olympic Games, after the 1978 event. For the second time in succession, both sexes will be competing in the football event at the quadrennial after the Women’s edition was introduced the last edition in 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria. In all, eight countries will be battling for honours in the respective competitions during the fortnight-long event.

For the male event, defending champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon faces stiff opposition from seven other countries including hosts, Algeria in their quest for an unprecedented fourth title.
The Lions have won gold at the last two editions, thus Johannesburg 1999 and Abuja 2003 and are highly tipped to increase their gold tally at the quadrennial games to an unprecedented fourth this time round.

The defending champions are paired in Group A alongside Ghana, South Africa and Tunisia with hosts Algeria perched in Group B with fellow North Africans, Egypt, Zambia and Guinea.
For Group A, Ghana’s Black Meteors is ranked as the toughest team to give the Lions a major opposition in their quest for honours following her pedigree in previous outings. The Black Meteors have been twice Bronze medalists, but have set their sights on gold at the impending 9th All Africa Games.  South Africa’s only impressive outing was a third place effort in 1999 when they hosted the Games whilst Tunisia is rated the dark horses.

In Group B, hosts and winners in 1978, Algeria is tipped to bag one of the two slots for the next stage at the expense of the other teams.

For the Women’s event, the continent’s power house and defending champions, Nigeria clearly ranks above the seven other participants which include two debutants. Ghana and Senegal are appearing for the first time in the Women’s edition which was debuted at the 8th All Africa Games in Abuja in 2003.

Nigeria share Group A with South Africa and Ethiopia while Algeria, Ghana, and Senegal are paired in Group B.

All venues are ready for the Games and certainly the best of African football will be on display during the two week long event.

The Games ends on July 23 with the finals of the male event, twenty-four hours after the females’.

Author: Written by Namana Keita
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper