The 2012 African Cup of Nations began on Saturday with drama all around. Hosts Equatorial Guinea followed the script of host nations doing well in the tournament by recording a morale boosting 1-0 victory over Libya. Libya’s good football was undone by Javier Balboa’s 87th minute strike sending the home nation into ecstasy and leaving the Equatorial Guinean players to figure out how to share one million dollars among them. Easy, if you ask me.
Zambia added to the drama of the opening day with a stunning 2-1 victory over highly fancied Senegal. It turns out Senegal have a lot of attacking talent but what’s that got to do with defending? Nothing, as Zambia showed, relying on a perfect half of counter attacking football to expose a shaky Senegalese defense marshalled by Marseille’s Souleymane Diawara. The Teranga Lions aka the fat cat lions, wasted numerous second half chances and have only themselves to blame.
Day one suggests this could be a wide-open tournament and predicting the scores of Day two’s first game, Burkina Faso – Angola didn’t help. Angola pulled through with a 2-1 victory, credit going to goalscorer Manucho with an opportunistic goal.
Sudan gave a good account of themselves in their 1-0 loss to Cote d’ Ivoire, the difference being, Cote d’ Ivoire have Didier Drogba and Sudan have…
It’s Ghana’s turn Tuesday and the latest news coming out of camp is that get this, Asamoah Gyan (insert dramatic pause here) has got a new haircut just in time for the Black Stars Afcon opener. A sign of boredom or incredible focus. His critics will likely have a field day. Gyan only has to score and do a nice Azonto rendition for them to be won over though. Of course, it could be worse. He could be injured and not participating. Alas, he is and is focused on delivering.
The boys’ psyche is best exemplified in this piece. Dede Ayew, Sulley Muntari and Goran Stevanovic are aware of what a victory would mean for them and for the country as a whole. Their determined looks and calm confidence reflect a group that is ready and single-minded.
Football is played on the field though. So, until tomorrow, we await.