What Newcastle fans should know about the 2013 African Cup of Nations

What impact will ACoN have on us?
David L from the Cheeky Punter blog explains why the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations isn’t all doom and gloom for us Toon Army supporters.

The first and most annoying thing Newcastle United fans should know about the Africa Cup of Nations is that it’s happening two years on the spin. We had one in 2012, and spent a couple of months without Demba Ba, Cheik Tiote and a newly signed Papiss Cisse, and now in all their wisdom the tournament organisers have decided we need one in 2013 as well.

There are a number of reasons we’ll be treated to consecutive tournaments with the main one being that currently the tournament coincides with the World Cup every four years, which is obviously less than ideal. Now the tournament will take place on odd numbered years meaning we won’t get this conflict and when left with the decision to wait until 2015 for the next competition, or have consecutive tournaments, the latter was considered preferable.

So who will we lose?

The tournament is scheduled to take place between the 19th of January and the 10th of February 2013 meaning that whoever we lose will be gone just under a month almost straight after Christmas – less than ideal to say the least.



The men we are most likely to miss, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, both play for Senegal who are one of the better African nations when it comes to footballing talent. If Senegal make the tournament proper it’s going to leave us seriously light upfront and although history suggests Mike Ashley won’t buy during the January transfer window if we don’t we’re in for a torrid time without our two main strikers.

Cheik Tiote is another African born player who is one of the first names on the Ivory Coast team sheet. Should the Ivory Coast make it to the tournament proper we’ll certainly miss Tiote, assuming he hasn’t been sold by then, but losing him is much less of a problem than losing Ba and Cisse in terms of attempting to cover holes in our squad.

If Algeria make it to the 2013 African Cup of Nations we’ll also be without youngster Mehdi Abeid but thankfully I’m pretty sure we can cope with this.

It’s not all doom and gloom…

Although quite frankly it sucks to be losing anyone half way through the season, the 2013 African Cup of Nations isn’t all bad news for us – in fact there’s some resounding good news for us, and for any other team who happens to have a player or two that might otherwise have bee called up for action halfway through a season.

Firstly the qualifying draw for the 2013 tournament was extremely kind for us; Senegal and the Ivory Coast have been drawn against each other. They’ll play out over two legs during current international breaks and the loser won’t make it to the tournament proper.

The first leg was played last night with the return being scheduled in October and whilst Papiss Cisse was on target for Senegal he couldn’t prevent his side from slipping to a 4-2 defeat meaning Senegal have it all to do if they are to progress to the competition proper in the winter.

Secondly along with moving the tournament to non World Cup years only, the plan is also to move the tournament to June/July dates which don’t coincide with the European league calendar. Basically after the 2013 tournament we, or any other club for that matter, shouldn’t be left in a situation where we lose players to their country mid season.

To be honest there’s probably more good than bad coming out of the 2013 African Nations for us Toon Army fans; we could get to keep both Ba and Cisse but if we lose them we keep Tiote, and we should never be in this position again!

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46 thoughts on “What Newcastle fans should know about the 2013 African Cup of Nations

  1. That’s good to hear, can see us getting a lot of African players now if they’d no longer have the tag of leaving midsession to play in a tournament ages away. Wouldn’t be suprised if a cheeky bid for N’Doye goes in in January.

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  2. Eh , history actually suggests Ashley could very well buy in January . Cisse being the most recent example , i seem to remember him buying in January when we had our season in the championship . I think he brought Routledge in then .

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  3. Axel history also suggest that Jabba could sell aswell 😉
    On topic I think it’s a pity that we can’t really wish them well and hope that they could go on to winning the acon, because we are so weak that we need them badly

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  4. It’s no secret that Tiote is massively important to us and without him we are weaker. But without Ba and Cisse, I think we would be completely screwed – and I wouldn’t have a clue where the goals would come from?!. I know Benny is playing well but he’s not a CF and teams would just cancel him out if our main CF was Shola.

    We were very lucky last night. The result went our way but Senegal didn’t make it easy. Ba and Cisse are top strikers so we were right to buy them, but to be in a position when if Senegal won, we’d effectively be left without a frontline which is bad management by the club.

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  5. Axel – I wish we still had Routledge as an option on the right – seems a far better one than Oba at the moment.

    Regarding Ashley buying and selling in Jan, I’ve never had any doubt he’ll willingly do either but it’s to what degree. The sale of Carroll on deadline day was worrying but the sum kind of justified, and we managed the rest of the season with what we had. The signing of Cisse the following Jan was positive, however not filling out for a CB when we clearly needed/need one was not great. I really don’t mind only 1or 2 coming in in Jan as long as they are for the positions we are short in, and there are no out goings.

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  6. Nothing to worry about. We did fine without them last year starting Shola and Best every match. ACoN’s not ideal but it is what it is…

    Ashley’s January history is mixed. Other than Carroll, which turned out to be the best bit of business the club has done since buying Shearer, he hasn’t sold anyone of value since the pre-reg season when he sold Zog and Given. Since then we brought in Cisse, Simpson, Willo and made the Ben Arfa deal permanent in January

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  7. Not really sure what you mean about Ashley not buying in Jan, but anyway. Good news about the moving dates I suppose. More Int football to watch whilst we have the long wait for the next season I suppose 😀

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  8. since its a quiet day i thought id lighten it up a bit and give u these facts

    Two interesting facts about me.

    1) My willy is the exactly the same length as an Argos pen.

    2) I’m Now banned from Argos.

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  9. MDS we did fine with Strolla and Best , but we don’t have Best and we don’t have Lovens so you have faith in Strolla ❓ to score the goals we need 😕

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  10. Cmon Dave. Loven scored ZERO league goals last year. Best scored 4 all of last year, only ONE during ACoN, and Shola had the same goal ratio as Best during Besty’s time at the club.

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  11. MDS funny enough Strolla scored 2 goals last season from 1004 mins on the pitch playing as a striker, while Best scored 4 goals from 1163 mins.
    yeah admittedly Lovens didn’t score any last year playin 205 mins mostly out on the wing
    But over the last 4 seasons Lovens has scored 22 goals from 3875 mins while Strolla scored 22 from 5076 mins on the pitch so I can’t see how you can so easily discount Lovens while backing Strolla to score the goals we need 😕
    PUP 😆

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  12. I’ve said it plenty o times before. Team’s need to be versatile in where their goals from, NUFC have been perhaps too blessed with good strikers and now are obsessed with finding players to compete for the golden boot. We need wingers who can score, and we need Cabaye to chip in with some more. Most importantly we need to sort out our pathetic set pieces. Both delivery and how we attack them imo.

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  13. Big Dave-Maybe because in those minutes, most of lovens goals and minutes came in the CC? While Shola was injured/out the team. How many goals did loven score for us in the last two seasons in the Prem? Three wasn’t it? Shola more, and given that he played behind Carroll as the target man, played as the target man for Ba and in his appearances in the second half he often went on the wing when he replaced Ba as a sub and Cisse was still playing.

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  14. Newkie I agree 100% for me Cabaye’s set pieces have been sunday lge standard and he needs to chip in with goals but while he’s playing like a DMF he wont score too many but if he starts to get forward more I have no doubt he would score more. But all teams rely strongly on strikers to score

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  15. Dave- I thought you were wondering where the goals were going to come from during ACoN without Best and Loven. I was making the point that Best and Loven combined for 1 goal during that stretch.

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  16. Newkie 2 goals in 1004 mins for Strolla and 0 goals in 205 mins for Lovens. lovens played 1567 mins in the ccc with 13 goals while strolla played 1050 with 10 goals.
    Newkie im not saying that Lovens was the be all and end all i’m making the point that over the 4 seasons that Lovens has a better strike rate with over 12 games less time on the pitch, but still some right Lovens off as no good but they think Strolla is all of a sudden going to change in to a goal scoring machine and score the goals we need, Strolla hasn’t even got a full game in him never mind a month 😕

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  17. MDS @ 16 Lovens only played 205 mins all of last season mostly as a winger so I think it’s a bit iffy to suggest that he never scored during the whole of the acon when infact he only played just over 2 games worth for the whole season. just out of interest how many goals did Strolla net during the same acon stretch

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  18. Bad news Krul injured in training and is on his way back too newcastle after pullknv out of the Dutch squad .Elbow injury .

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  19. Dave-Exactly. If we’re going to play 4-4-2 then I don’t expect too many goals from him, I’d expect them from Benny-which he’s sure to do, and Jonas, who simply won’t. Two goals or so a season just isn’t good enough for a winger imo, unless of course he’s covering for a fullback who can score 6+ 😉

    Obertan one last year?…Hopefully Marv can show something as well.

    As far as indirect goals set pieces go…well I think Man City scored 8 last year? Pretty sure we scored from one, Ba header vs someone.I know we don’t have any giants or brilliant aerial threats, but Colo, Staylor and Willo all need to step up imo. Sad to say it but we miss Nolan as well, no athleticism but good nous and positioning, or luck 😕

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  20. If Loven played so little, then why does he need replaced?

    Shola didn’t score any during that stretch. But you seem to besuggesting it will be difficult to replace one goal during ACoN and that doesn’t seem difficult to me.

    Oh well, at least we agree on Simmo (rating him) and Willo (not rating him). 😉

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  21. Dave-yeah but in the last two seasons its 8 vs 3 I think. Not saying Shola is going to tear teams apart, but to be honest if we still had loven this season and the Dembas went to the acon, I’d play Shola and 5 in midfield anyway. Good link up play and would be a lot better with the knock downs for Benny and Marv. Lovenkrands was just invisible for most of the time for me, no matter where he played.

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  22. MDS i’m not saying we should have a direct replacement for Lovens but I do think we should have had atleast 1 good striker to replace Lovens AND Best 😉 As for > But you seem to besuggesting it will be difficult to replace one goal during ACoN and that doesn’t seem difficult to me
    No im not saying that, but @ 7 you seem to be suggesting we’ll have no probs with > “Nothing to worry about. We did fine without them last year starting Shola and Best every match”.
    😀 😉

    Axel did you hear anymore about Krul 👿

    Newkie sorry mate but I can’t miss Nolan 👿 but his goals were handy but that was thanks to Carroll because without Carroll he only scored 2 ? for the 2nd half of the season

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  23. Loven was good in the CCC year but didn’t do much in his other seasons.

    I’d play Ben Arfa off Shola, or play Shola in the middle with marv and ben arfa on the wings. Shola’s link up play is the one thing he does well other than taking penalties so I think it could work better than the 4-4-2 with Best/Shola that we used last year

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  24. Dave- I am suggesting it’s not a big deal because we are only talking about 3-4 matches. I certainly wouldn’t want to go a whole season without both Ba and Cisse

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  25. Dave-Yeah, certainly don’t miss him personally 😆 Just his standing in front of keepers and that shiz. I know he did well out of Carroll, but he did score from other knock downs or just scraps. Hell even Carroll scored from set pieces, with his feet, whilst hanging around the box like vs Villa!

    Guess we miss Barton’s delivery too….something just doesn’t seem right with positioning though.

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  26. Yeah Dave, I know you can’t win an argument with an Irishman- but I’m learning the same is true with you northerners 😉

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  27. MDS – Best and Shola covering for Ba and Cisse last year scored 1 goal between them – Best against QPR. We then got turned over 5-2 against Fulham and knocked out the cup by Brighton. I fail to see how that is coping fine without Ba and Cisse. The truth of the matter is that we were lucky Senegal got knocked out when they did. What happened when we got Ba and Cisse back – both score and we beat Villa 2-1. However as Dave has already pointed out, we don’t have Best to turn to and haven’t replaced him.
    You may say that’s irrelevant now as Senegal got knocked out last night, but they could still be injured as Raylor was and as Krul and Colo has been on Int duties.
    Really hope Krul isn’t injured too badly man.

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  28. True Sharpy, but to be fair we also beat Blackburn twice in that stretch- once in the league and once in the FA Cup. So we were 2-0-1 in the league and won one lost one in the FA Cup….

    Senegal isn’t out yet I don’t think….I think there’s a return leg…

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  29. Since promotion Shola has got 11 goals and 11 assists compared to both Best and Loverman who both have 10 goals and 5 assists, He might be the most fecking annoying lazy pain in the arse at the club but he will always score or create vital goals.

    Anyway hopefully ivory coast finish the job off and let us keep Shola in storage until derby day comes round… 😉

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  30. Sorry lads been scanning the entire dutch media too see how bad Kruls injury is .i cant find any more than its a elbow injury.I will be watching studio football tonight 22.25cet .There is bound too be news then , will let yous know.

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  31. Newkie I know a couple guys from N.I. and they don’t like being called “Irish” as they prefer “British”. Personally, I have no idea what’s appropriate 😉

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  32. MDS – fair point, but the point I was trying to make is that our frontline of Best and Shola only managed 1 goal between them while Ba and Cisse were away, Benny got 2, Oba/Jonas/Guthrie got 1 and Scott Dann scored an OG. I just don’t believe our striking options or defensive options are strong enough this season.

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  33. I hear ya sharpy. i think its just that strikers are expensive and we werent about to pay that kind of money for someone who would maybe get 10 starts this year. I don’t really rate him but i probably would have kept best for one more season, but I’m intrigued by campbell

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  34. [email protected] 34 since promotion Strolla has scored 8 lge goals in 2766 mins 😀 thats 1 goal every 345 mins 😆 I just hope we don’t need his goals that badly 😉 as going by his usual games it will take about 10 games to get 345 mins from him 😉

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  35. MDS – we agree 😯 ;-). If they didn’t want to spend decent money replacing Best, then I would have kept hold of him for another season. I still would have brought Campbell through and focused on developing him for the first team squad, but Best would have at least provided more depth. I would have loved to have seen a young striker like Jordan Rhodes come in tho to develop a long term strike partnership with Campbell. Although, I don’t know how far JJ Hooper is away from Campbell and a call up to first team action as well.

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