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The player Arnold Davy Bouka of Congo
Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
On day nine of CAN, here are five things we've learned.
Don’t big yourself up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was full of confidence before the start of the tournament saying he was aiming to be one of the stars of the show. Well, after a very slick goal in Gabon’s 2-0 win over Burkina Faso on day one it looked like the Borussia Dortmund striker would prove himself right. It didn’t exactly turn out that way. Gabon are gone.
When your luck is out
Nothing went right for the Burkina Faso side. Star strikers Alain Traoré and Jonathan Pitroipa didn’t score. Only Aristide Bancé did. By then it was all a bit too late. They were 1-0 down to Congo. Any hopes of a comeback were eradicated when keeper Germain Sanou spilled a cross and Fabrice Ondama prodded into an empty net.
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Worth the wait
Congo haven’t been in the last eight for 23 years. Claude Le Roy has seven quarter-final appearances in eight CANs with this his sixth African national team. Congo skipper Prince Oniangué said Le Roy’s experience had helped them learn how to fight and give everything until the very end. Congo have been impressive in negotiating a group which contained the more fancy sides of Gabon and Burkina Faso.
When you’re luck is in Equatorial Guinea are the lowest ranked team at the competition. They were thrown out during the qualifying campaign for fielding an ineligible player. Thus it was manna from heaven when the country’s president Teodoro Obiang Nguem decided to help out the CAF boss Issa Hayatou and organise the tournament here. After draws against Burkina Faso and Congo, Equatorial Guinea turned over a limp Gabon to reach the quarter finals. Iban’s strike to make it 2-0 in the 87th minute was his first international goal and it sparked celebrations throughout the land. Quite a turnaround.
Drums up for the Burkina Faso supporters
Decked out in the national colours of green and red, the fans started their singing, gyrating and chanting about 90 minutes before the match between their team and Congo in Ebebiyin on day nine. It was a rolling, drum-led splash of colour and vitality. The review particularly liked the decorum. Pause at half-time, resume the pitch and pace when the players return to the field, become fervent when the team go 1-0 down, rack up the noise when they equalise and when they go 2-1 down within a minute of drawing level - a strike which effectively sealed their fate – launch into a nuclear noise mode. Respect.