Libya have been crowned the 2014 African Nations Championships champions after beating Ghana on penalties in the Final, and this is what CHAN showed us.
African football is more tactical
The game in Africa has become more tactical than before and the strength of defensive football across all the teams was there to see.
Libya played a defensive game, got themselves organised and ended up becoming champions.
As the tournament grew older and the jitters of the opening games were over, the games got less and less open and the goals dried up too, which highlighted the tactical approach by coaches and the strong defensive focus. Zimbabwe and Ghana also gave nothing away in defence in their last few games.
Goalkeepers on the rise
Could this be a period in history where some of the continent’s best goalkeepers till playing their football in Africa win moves to Europe?
Not since Cameroon’s Carlos Kameni has their truly been a top class African goalkeeper on the world stage. But now, we have seen several budding stars at CHAN.
Zimbabwe’s George Chigova, Ghana’s Stephen Adams and Nigeria’s Chigozie Agbim all put up their hand in a big way and showed their talents. Talk is that Agbim could force his way into Stephen Keshi’s World Cup squad for Brazil 2013.
The fairytale story is still out there
Libya winning the tournament is just a wonderful story that not many would have believed prior to CHAN 2014.
They may not have won in the most stylish way, but they were effective and are wearing gold medals around their necks whether you like it or not.
Without a football league running in their country due to the political instability for the past few years, Libya were not expected to go this far, let alone win it. They were meant to host the event, but couldn’t due to the situation and only in September 2013 did they begin to play league football again after around a two year gap.
South Africa have a long way to go
They selected the best side they could possibly put together from the PSL clubs that made players available and they had some huge experience in the form of Itumeleng Khune, Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala.
But they failed horribly on the field drawing with Mali and losing to Nigeria. The opening game win over Mozambique was the only positive in a tournament showing that needs to be forgotten and fixed immediately.
CAF can improve the quality
Several people at the tournament made the comment that CAF should consider allowing players who play in African leagues outside of their own country, play at CHAN events.
For example, many Zimbabweans play in South Africa’s PSL and were barred from playing by the rules. But South Africa’s team was made up of only PSL players. So there is no real difference had Zimbabwe been allowed to pick players from their domestic league and those who play in the PSL.
The ban on players playing in leagues outside of Africa remains an obvious boundary that enhances development, but opening it up for players who play in African leagues will only enhance the quality of the competition for the next events in future.