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Zimbabweans Up Betting Game as AFCON Draws to a Close

A Ghana supporter painted in his national colors attends the African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

The curtain comes down at the African Cup of Nations tournament Sunday with two West African teams fighting for the continent’s coveted cup.

Betting houses in Zimbabwe have been active during the past 22 days of the tournament as Africa's best tussled to land the trophy.

Some football fans are counting the costs of their losses while those who placed their faith on Ivory Coast and the Black Stars of Ghana have every reason to smile.

But the guessing game that has been going on comes to end in the Equatorial Guinea Sunday with indications that the balance of football power is shifting from North Africa to other parts of the continent.

Former Zimbabwe national team goalkeepers’ coach Nkululeko Dhlamini is among soccer critics who believe that West Africa is becoming a force to reckon with in African soccer.

"If you look at football these days, it's changing," said Dhlamini. "There's no nation that can be said to be a big or smaller nation. Football is fast developing in all nations."

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria, who could not defend their title as they fell by the wayside in the qualifiers, are the current holders of the cup.

North African giants Egypt have won the tournament a record seven times while Tunisia have two titles, and Algeria have one.

Ghana last won the title in 33 years ago while the Ivorians have come close twice in the past three editions by reaching the finals.

Caps United supporter Farai Mugoni thinks the Elephants’ misery will continue.

In fact, there is so much belief in the Black Stars that even another football follower, Jivas Makoni, says he has raised enough money to place his bet on the Black Stars.

However, it would be folly to underestimate the overall strength and team spirit of the Ivorians, once of Africa’s top-ranked teams.

But whatever happens. The truth is that the trophy will remain in West Africa for another two years.

While the curtain is coming down on the Africa Cup of Nations, the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League have announced that the 2015 soccer programme will begin on March 1st but without the traditional season opening knockout tournament.

Initially, the Mbada Diamonds Cup which was called off last season, was supposed to open up the season but this will not be the case as the company has failed to mobilise enough financial resources to light up the start of the season.

Premier Soccer League chief executive Officer Kennedy Ndebele has informed all the clubs of the start of the season, adding that they would want the programme to end by the latest on December 20.

Dynamos are the defending champions after winning the title for four consecutive years.

But the champions lost their title-winning coach Kalisto Pasuwa at the end of last season.