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Wenger hails African football

AFRICA OBSERVER: Wenger has been keeping a close eye on African football

ARSENAL BOSS Arsene Wenger, often admired for his knowledge of world football, has spoken about how he was impressed by the 2013 African Cup of Nations played between January and February in South Africa.

The Gunners’ manager, who last night (March 13) saw his side exit the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich - prolonging his team’s silverware drought to eight years, praised the performances of the West African countries, and said there had been a power shift in the continent’s game.

“To sum it up best you would say this African Nations Cup was a triumph for West Africa and the downfall of North Africa – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia all went out in the first round, unusually”, he told the Arsenal Magazine.

“Egypt wasn’t there at all.

“Also we saw a big disappointment for the Ivory Coast, who were the big tournament favourites to win, and the triumph of Nigeria. The day Ivory Coast went out, you would say Nigeria or Ghana would win it.”

The Frenchman was happy to see Africa’s most populous nation claim the championship, saying “it’s a country of huge football passion… and they have suffered for a very long time with disorganised football.

“Their manager Stephen Keshi – who played in France and I know, did a remarkable job.”

Chelsea’s African players also were recognised for their efforts during the tournament.

“Obi Mikel was their guide, and they played the most attractive football.

“They played with three strikers, Victor Moses and Emenike did well too”, Wenger added.

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