Equatorial Guinea head coach Henri Michel says each game for his team at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will be “like trying to climb Mount Everest.” While Michel stopped short of saying Equatorial Guinea has long odds of winning, the coach did express some concern. These worries are fair as the Nzalang Nacional, who are co-hosts of the tournament with Gabon, are ranked 155th in the world and have never been to a Nations Cup before. In a recent interview, the Frenchman said that both the squad and himself would try their hardest to compete with other more experienced teams. “All the teams in the competition are better than us…I’m saying that it’s not possible so we’re going to do our best, with everything that we have.”
The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations mascot has been revealed. The new mascot is a large gorilla named “Gaguie” and is seen as an effort by African nations to protect these endangered animals.
African mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered species in the world. Scientists estimate that there are about 600 individuals, living in 2 populations of about 300 each, separated by about 20 miles. Only 285 square miles of high-elevation rain forest in east-central Africa is home to these majestic animals.
The name “Gaguie” combines the first two syllables of the two co-hosts: Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Equatorial Guinea and Gabon will be hosting the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations which will be the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The two countries defeated bids from two previous winners, Angola and Libya as well as a Nigerian bid. As Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are the hosts, they will automatically be qualified to the tournament. They join Botswana and Côte d’Ivoire who have also already qualified as winners of their respective groups. The opening match, one semi-final and the third place match will be held in Equatorial Guinea while the other semi-final and the final will be held in Gabon. The two stadiums that will be used in Equatorial Guinea are Estadio de Bata and the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo. The draw for the finals will take place on the 29th October, 2011.