Angola eats with kings tonight

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Egypt and Tunisia have over a period of time have developed the reputation of dominating club football in Africa through Zamalek, Al Ahly, Etoile du Sahel, Esperance, Club Sportif to mention but a few.

Cameroon, on the other hand, boasts a host of professionals led by Samuel Eto’o who has already shattered Africa’s 38-year-old goal record and has not stopped scoring.

Tunisia midfielder, Chaker Zouaghi is confident his side has what it takes to brush off the challenge of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

“I firmly believe that the pre-tournament preparations have helped our team, and we played three very difficult teams but we were able to come through in first place,” says the Locomotiv Moscow player.

“The main reason is that, while preparing for this event, we got a number of scares in the friendly matches and the guys stepped up and picked up the work rate, and obviously our focus is on Cameroon,” The 23-year-old added.

Tunisia’s players say they are happy to be the underdogs. Despite playing at eight successive Nations Cup tournaments, winning in 2004 and qualifying for the last three World Cups, Tunisia are rarely in the limelight while Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast are considered the continent’s glamour teams.

“When we won in 2004, people didn’t really talk about us but we don’t care,” said midfielder Mehdi Nafti.

“Ivory Coast and Cameroon have the individual talent. Our strengths are our tactical discipline and our organisation.'”

“As the coach said, we have 23 players in the squad, we don't have any stars but every player can play in every position, that’s the big quality in this side.”

Defender Radhouane Felhi said that five years under Frenchman Roger Lemerre had turned Tunisia into a tough, professional outfit, even if they lacked charisma.

“Tunisia has kept a good standard and our players have changed their mentality. They work hard, they try to be professional when they move to European teams and they are ambitious.”

Angola’s Black, being led by arguably the most successful coach in the country’s history, Luis Goncalves, have been one of the real surprise packages of the tournament.

Placed in a tough group alongside Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal, many people wrote off the Angolan side, a team that never in the history of the CAN has ever passed the group stages.

Indeed, it was only the most hopeful and optimistic of fans that thought this Angolan side will go places.

Goncalves proved doubters wrong with some excellent performances, most notably against Senegal, beating them by three goals to one, with new Manchester United/Panathanaikos star Manucho grabbing a brace.

So it seems that the Black Antelopes have yet to write the final chapter of this story.

With two of their main players in Flavio and Gilberto playing their trade at Egypt’s most popular club, Al Ahly, manager Luis Goncalves will be hoping that his two trusted aces will provide him their extensive knowledge of the Egyptian psyche.

Egyptian Manager Shehata will have a dilemma on his hands. Having performed ever so well in the first match against Cameroon, the performance curve of the Egyptian team has been going downhill ever since, thus Shehata will be reconsidering playing in a slightly different matter against the Angolans.

He may opt to field a more attack-minded set of players, with Zidan and Aboutreika having the chance of playing together for the first time from the start of the match, with Aboutriaka claiming that supporting attacker/playmaker role and Zidan going as an out and out striker besides either Zaki or Moteab. However, the midfield should remain unchanged, with Shawky and Abdel Rabo serving in defensive capacities.

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