Collins Udoh, a sports analyst, says the tournament, kicking off in Equatorial Guinea today, will draw far less tourists than the usual. Besides the lack of preparation, tourists are still weary of the Ebola epidemic, which heavily impacted West Africa last year.
“Usually fans don’t travel that much for the African nation’s cup anyway, but in this instance people are going to be weary of traveling that’s the first thing,” he said.
The lack of travellers from places like Nigeria, who usually make up the bulk of audiences will have a significant impact on the revenue that could’ve been generated from the tournament.
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While there are many favourites to win the tournament – such as Algeria, Udoh says a team like Ivory Coast could easily win. However, the fact that many of the players are based all over Europe makes it difficult for them to have enough time to play together and gel as a team. He adds that many players don’t seem to play their best game perhaps saving themselves for their teams overseas.
Sports analyst Niran Adesanya says while everyone has their eye on Group C, possibly the toughest group comprising of Ghana, Algeria, South Africa and Senegal, he believes Group D will also surprise fans.
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“I think a lot of us have taken our eyes off Group D where we have Ivory Coast, Mali, Cameroon and Guinea. It’s going to be difficult because these teams are teams that play robust football,” he said.
Although the stands may not be full there is no doubt that millions of viewers will be watching in anticipation hoping their country will bring home the trophy.