Sunday, February 3, 2008



Family relationships have found practical expression at the Africa Cup of Nations since its inception, and at Ghana 2008, some famous siblings have been at the centre of their team's build-up to the finals.
Tomorrow's quarter-final match between Ghana and Nigeria will see the Black Stars fielding the Kingson (or Kingston) brothers, goalkeeper Richard Kingson and his younger brother Laryea, who curiously bears the surname Kingston.
The brothers' act on the Ghanaian side will be played out by coach Claude Le Roy's first choice striker Asamoah Gyan, who scored the tournament's first goal, and his elder brother Baffour. As if by design, each time Baffour was introduced into the game at the group stage, he was a replacement for Asamoah.
Similar family affairs have played out in the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire, Zambia's Chipolopolo and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun.
The Ivorians have a stronger family with centre back Kolo Toure and his younger brother Yaya of Spanish giants Barcelona, who are both key members of Coach Gerard Gili's squad, just as the Kone brothers, striker Arouna and midfielder Bakare.
Four-time African champions, Cameroun, were once noted for the outstanding performance of the Biyik brothers, striker Francois Oman Biyik and his younger brother Andre Kana Biyik. However, at Ghana 2008, the Indomitable Lions are singing a new 'song', with the team captained by dreadlocks defender Rigobert Song, who makes his seventh successive Cup of Nations appearance. His 21-year-old nephew, Alexandre, who also sports dreadlocks, is the midfield pillar of the Lions team.
The Chipolopolos may have been eliminated at the group stage but the Katongo brothers were crucial to the team's impressive performance in Group C.
The Katongo brothers accounted for three of Zambia's five goals in the tournament. Skipper Christopher Katongo scored twice, his first goal coming in Zambia's 1-5 demolition by Cameroun, and also scored a decisive late equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Egypt in their last group match. His younger brother, Felix, was on target in Zambia's 3-0 victory over The Sudan in Kumasi.
Family affairs have played out in previous Cup of Nations tournaments.
Prominent siblings in recent times include the Egyptian twins, Hossam Hassan and Ibrahim Hassan, both of whom won the Cup of Nations for the Pharaohs a decade ago in Burkina Faso.
At 42, Hossam is still a part of the Pharaohs team at Ghana 2008 but his brother Ibrahim has retired.
At the 1994 tournament in Tunisia, three-time African Best Player, Abedi Ayew Pele, captained the Ghana team that included his younger brother Kwame, and the two reunited two years later in South Africa.
The squad also featured centre back Joseph Addo and his younger brother Simon, who was in post for the Black Stars.

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