- You never want to be part of a golden generation. Portugal had one which included Luis Figo, Rui Costa and João Pinto. These saplings won the FIFA world youth championships in 1991 and were expected to sweep all before them over the next decade. Didn’t happen. England had one. And the less said about Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham the better. After their 2-1 loss in the quarter-final to Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire’s has just seen its gilded ones right royally gelded.
- You shouldn’t sack a coach that gets you to a final. François Zahoui led Côte d’Ivoire to the final last year in Gabon. He was dismissed by the Ivorian FA after the loss to Zambia on penalties and replaced by the former France international Sabri Lamouchi who got them to the quarter-final. Wonder what will happen there.
- Burkina Faso’s Mohamed Koffi has been working on his look since the group stages. The no-nonsense right-back had a dyed blonde goatie during the pool matches. He emerged for the quarter-final in Nelspruit against Togo with an extravagant dyed blond trident emanating from his nape and over his scalp.
- That it’s not a tournament for white shirts. After the departure last week of Hervé Renard’s Le Touchline Look, we had high hopes that Le Six Appeal – pleated white shirt, black trousers and black shoes might endure to the end of the tournament. But no, Didier Six and his Togo team are on their way home. In the sartorial shakedown for the semis, we have Mali’s Patrice Carteron in his blue stripey T-shirt and white track suit bottoms. Kwesi Appiah, the Ghana coach, is probably aware of something too, he conscientiously wears a white shirt under a dark jacket. Burkina Faso coach Paul Put sports the team T-shirt which has loads of pumas over it and Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi is turning the CAF bib over the Nigeria track suit into le must-have accessory.
- That the review needs to congratulate itself. Here we are into the latter stages of this the 29th Africa Cup of Nations; the Burkina Faso coach’s surname - Put - is a godsend for a jaded wordsmith penning the review. But have we succumbed to any quips and quiddities? No, not once. Why? The review is perhaps maturing and concentrating on the issues that matter. Perhaps the review’s editors might object to tired jokes. In short, here in Nelspruit the review carries a burden of responsibility. We really are put upon.
Five things we learned from day 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations.