1. South Africa can put up a show..... if the want to ( or maybe not). The pitches in this years edition have been crap to say the least. The World Cup pitches used was top notch, maybe this is a step down? who knows, i expected better, i hope it improves as the tournament progresses.
2. The Ivory Coast are not a one man team. Many have labelled the CIV ' Drogba and others' but it's now more of Yaya Toure, Gervinho and others. The way they annihilated Tunisia in their second game speaks volumes of that. Is this their year? lets wait and see.
3. African referees haven't regressed & evidently so. Questionable and inconsistent calls have marred a lot of games. Togo scored a legitimate goal vs CIV that was disallowed. Ghana's goalkeeper Fatau Dauda picked the ball outside his box and was yellow carded while Soumala Abdoulaye of Burkina Faso was given his matching orders for the same offense. Zambia was gifted a penalty that never was vs Nigeria.....the story goes on and on.
|pix courtesy supersport.com|
4. Zambia have flattered to deceive. YES they have, they came into the tournament not mincing words about what and how they are going to win the tourney. Herve Renard didn't spare words either, he played mind games and was all over the back pages ( maybe for good measure) But their displays have been far from convincing. The 1-1 draw with Ethiopia a testament to that fact.
5. Emmanuel Adebayor can be good if he wants to. Prior to the start of the tournament, Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo's inspirational captain had a run in with the Football Federation chieftains whom he accused of a lot of things. He decided not to pitch, then he decided to show up....then changed his mind, but eventually made the trip. Now he has shown leadership and led Togo to a hard earned 2-0 victory over North African power house Algeria.
|pix courtesy: Andrew Randa|
6. South Africa Coach, Gordon Igesund has the Midas touch. The outspoken coach was a popular choice for the Bafana Bafana position after Pitso Mosimane ( whom i am acquainted with) was shown the exit door. His early days were not good at all, lack of goals and general waywad play dragged the daggers out, but he has been able to build a squad that plays some good attacking football. No matter what happens, i feel he is the man to lead South Africa forward.
|pix courtesy: mtnfootball.com|
7. Efe Ambrose is no right back. I wrote several pieces ( soccerpress.net, Daily Trust Newspapers) on why Keshi shouldn't play the Kaduna born player at right back. I have know him for nearly a decade and i know his strengths and weaknesses, but i guess my memo didnt reach the coaches. In the friendly vs Cape Verde, he was skinned endlessly, beaten for pace, while going forward, he didn't cut out as a modern day full back. An excellent footballer at Centre back and in defensive midfield, Stephen Keshi didn't help him by playing him in that position.
|pix courtesy: wikipedia.org|
8. Issa Hayatou does not mean well for the African game. The Cameroonian whom i must be forgiven if i call a despot, has been in power since like for ever ( 1988, actually). The winners of the AFCON gets peanuts while ordinary Africans who cannot afford to pay for cable TV will miss out of the action. Football is for the people and knowing how Africa operates, he & his goons ought to know it will be an unpopular decision. I am still not yet convinced he has no shares on interest in Sport5 ( the group whom CAF fronts) who have the rights to the games. Its sad and pathetic.
|pix courtesy: www.photobucket.com|
9. African football is fun, not necessarily for the football, but the colorful atmosphere and the fans. You cant find anything better elsewhere in the world. How many goalkeepers can do the "Kidiaba"?
Togo's dance routine is something else, How about the hairstyles, the effigies, the drums, the women?...ahhh, those Ethiopian beauties... and yes the Vuvuzelas.. we dare to be different.
10. The Super Eagles are light years ahead from being contenders. Before the tournament started, i resolved to just take a chill pill and enjoy the football on display. I am still doing that, even though i wish the Eagles ( The Nigerian version that is) will give me a kick and do the impossible. The play hasn't been entirely convincing, but the potential is there, maybe the 2015 version might give me some hope, but for now, i will just dust my sofa, turn on my new Lg LED high definition television ( i bought it just 2 days to the tourney) and enjoy the games as they roll in after paying N11,000 ($78) courtesy Issa Hayatou and his band of mercenaries.