Soccer News of Mon, 2 Jan 201231

Asamoah tips Cup of Nations surprise

Kwadwo Asamoah believes there could be a surprise winner at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Udinese midfielder told fifa.com that all 16 teams have a chance to lift the trophy.

While Asamoah's Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Senegal have been touted as favourites, he believes it will be 'a balanced tournament' in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, starting on January 21.

"I do not see any favourite," the 23-year-old said. "We all start on the same level, so of course there could be a big surprise."

Asamoah does believe, however, Ghana could live up to expectations if they remain focused and adhere to the coach's advice.

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"We are a good team, without any phenomenons but with many quality players. If we are compact and gritty as (coach Goran) Stevanovic asks, we will be dangerous for anyone to play," Asamoah said.

Asamoah touched on the absent big names at the tournament - including Egypt, Cameroon and Nigeria - but said it did not make Ghana's task any easier.

"It is true that strong and successful teams will be missing, but it still won't be easy to win the continental tournament," he said.

"Not even South Africa will be there, but there are always new teams who will make life hard for anyone. All the teams who qualified for the finals deserved it."

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