Bwalya says Afcon is wide open


The 1988 African Footballer of the Year believes that Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mali and Senegal are the leading contenders.

But he also feels that any team is capable of causing an upset at the continental showpiece.

“African football is not predictable any more,” he told BBC Sport.

“African players have raised the bar wherever they play. They have made a mark at teams like Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid and all the important teams in the world.

“If all these players come to Ghana, I’m sure we’ll be sitting on the edge of our seats.”

Bwalya feels that hosts Ghana have a strong chance of winning their fifth title, but that they could be under pressure to impress local fans.

“They have home advantage but that can also bring its own pressures,” he said.

“As you move forward the expectations also get high. They will be worthy contenders for the crown but it’s a thin line to ride.”

Bwalya is optimistic that Zambia can progress from a group that includes Cameroon, Egypt and Sudan.

“Zambia have always played well against the big teams. The problem we have is the consistency,” he said.

“We have to take maximum points against Sudan and a point or better from Egypt and Cameroon for us to qualify.

“It’s a difficult group, but most of the players Zambia are taking were at the last Nations Cup finals.”