Storified by Pitch Invasion ·
Fri, Jan 18 2013 22:12:58
Vuvuzelas are back!
In Johannesburg today, the 2013 African Cup of Nations kicks off with matches from Group A. The host nation South Africa take on AFCON debutants Cape Verde, followed by Angola taking on 2004 runners-up Morocco.
For anyone that followed the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it surely means that today is the day that you get these out
But don't go covering your ear drums just yet. Vuvuzelas are melodious instruments that are used in high music. Yes, we said that with a straight face. Just like ze Germans!
South Africa vs. Cape Verde (9:30pm IST)
The debutants, Cape Verde, might turn out to be the dark horses of this group and should not be taken for granted. They stand higher in FIFA rankings than the other three teams in Group A. The same team beat one of the giants of African football, Cameroon, to qualify for this competition. Look out for the very talented forward Ryan Mendes (Lille, Ligue 1), who's lethal volleying skills mixed with his ability to dribble on the run, will give South Africa a tough time.
South African hopes are high as the last time they hosted the competition in 1996, they won the cup. Now equipped with modern and refurbished stadia, they are sure to attract larger crowds to their matches. Safe to say that the best atmosphere will be for their matches. Look out for South Africa's counter attacking through the wings, especially the Kaiser Chief winger, Siphiwe Tshabalala. If he can repeat what he and the team did in their first World Cup match in 2010, then the home fans and us will all be in for a real treat.
Angola vs. Morocco (0:30 am)
Angola are a team that love scoring goals as they proved in last year's competition. Despite being knocked out in the group stages, their striker Manucho (Real Valladolid, La Liga) was the joint top scorer of the tournament. He is definitely one to look out for not just because he scores goals, he scores some great goals.
Morocco enter this tournament as the Arab Nations Cup Champions and the best way of ratifying that title would be to progress from the group stages. In the last decade Morocco played Angola 4 times with Morocco winning thrice. The other match was a goalless draw. This year they will have to depend on a new generation of players. The two most exciting players to look out for are Younes Belhanda (Montpellier, Ligue 1) and Nordin Amrabat (Galatasaray, Turkish Super Lig). Both great dribblers, they can score goals and create them as well.