Africa: Cup of Nation 2012 to kick off later this week

NAIROBI, Kenya — Africa's football fest returns!

Read more on GlobalPost: South African soccer comes a long way

Later this week the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off.

The continent's premier footballing spectacle will draw in millions of viewers and listeners across Africa and the rest of the world.

Let's ignore for the moment that one of the co-hosts is the horribly oppressive and corrupt Equatorial Guinea — and let's also try to make sure that hosting a football tournament doesn't whitewash an appalling human rights record — and look forward instead to some great football.

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The official fixtures list is here.

The BBC Sports website will have comprehensive coverage.

And for a thoughtful primer on football in Africa have a read of this from Britain's Guardian newspaper.

In the Guardian's recent sport blog post "The Question: is African football progressing?" Jonathan Wilson concludes:

"The positive spin is that there is a greater breadth of talent in Africa than ever before, that there are now a couple of dozen decent sides and that success isn't restricted to the usual five or six nations. When we heard that before, in 2006, it was only half true. "

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