Jan 11, 2013, 2:38 PM EDT
There are loads of reasons to watch the upcoming African Cup of Nations.
You can start with ample stores of great players, none as well-rounded as Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, who will guide the Ivory Coast efforts.
There are favorites and underdogs. (No matter what competition, no matter the sport, don’t we all love to root for the lesser heralded sides?) May we suggest Ethiopia, returning to the tournament for the first time in 31 years.
There’s good soccer, starting with the oddsmakers choices to take the crown: Ivory Coast, followed by Ghana, Nigeria and host South Africa.
Alas, for MLS followers, today does bring one reason fewer to follow the tournament. Portland’s Bright Dike, won’t be part of Nigeria squad as hoped.
The Timbers attacker (pictured, center) raised those hopes last week, scoring spectacularly in a friendly against Catalonia. Regardless, Nigerian officials informed Dike that he was not in the squad that will travel to South Africa for the tournament that begins a week from Saturday.
The entire tournament schedule is here.
- MLS Roundup: Sounders, D.C. United slip; LA gains ground in the West 0
- Premier League Sunday preview: Man City vs. Chelsea; Everton, Spurs, Man United in action 0
- Premier League roundup: Arsenal, Southampton win, Liverpool upset 0
- West Ham United 3-1 Liverpool: Early goals send Irons to big upset 2
- Newcastle United 2-2 Hull City: Cisse’s brace saves embattled Magpies (video) 0
- Aston Villa 0-3 Arsenal: Red-hot Ozil, Welbeck fire Gunners to victory (video) 0