Ethiopia hold champs Zambia

Ethiopia hold champs Zambia

Zambia's chances of emulating Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon as the only nations to retain the African Nations Cup did not look promising when they began their campaign with a stuttering 1-1 draw against Ethiopia on Monday.   

Nigeria, seeking their third title and their first since 1994, will also have to improve after outsiders Burkina Faso snatched a dramatic 1-1 draw with the last kick of the game at the Mbombela Stadium.
Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi, whose side were reduced to 10 men when Efe Ambrose was sent off in the closing stages, was philosophical about the outcome.

"I am going to let the players sleep on it. There is no point in blowing their heads off about it tonight (Monday)," he said.

The Nigerians are likely to have nightmares, though, after allowing substitute Alain Traore to capitalise on some sloppy defending and fire in with three seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Monday's results meant that five of the first six games in the tournament finished all-square, the only
exception being Mali's 1-0 win over Niger in Group B on Sunday.

While title contenders such as Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria have been left frustrated after dropping points, the run of draws left Groups A, B and C wide open with each team still having two matches to play.
The first round of matches will be completed on Tuesday when Group D kicks off in Rustenburg with Ivory Coast meeting Togo and Tunisia playing Algeria.

Ethiopia made a memorable return to the tournament following a 31-year absence by holding champions Zambia.  Collins Mbesuma broke the deadlock with a well-struck left-foot half-volley on the stroke of halftime.
But the indefatigable Ethiopians got their reward when skipper Adane Girma lashed the equaliser home with a powerful shot that went in off the near post in the 65th minute.