- Day 20 has not ended.
The review particularly liked the Ghana football federation’s analysis of the Malabo mayhem as a “war zone”. Look, let’s not exaggerate. There were bottles, broken mirrors and stones on the ground. We saw no dismembered bodies and disfigured corpses. Sure, there was a dysfunctional society on show but war zone? We don’t think so.
Perhaps it was the low flying helicopters that so pumped up the FA. We were waiting for choppers to envelope us withRide of the Valkyries and our journey to the dark side would have been complete. It’s becoming so apocalyptic for the review that we’re Mad-Maxing on our film allusions.
- Star wars are upon us.
So the dream final has happened. Ghana, after emerging intact from the battle zone, are to play Côte d’Ivoire on Sunday in Bata. It will be a game replete with subplots, twists and strands. We must now justify that flourish. Both west African giants have been to the last three World Cups. Ghana has a slightly better record there, having reached the last 16 and the last eight in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Neither country has won the Cup of Nations for a while. Côte d’Ivoire were beaten finalists in 2006 and 2012 while Ghana lost in 2010. Côte d’Ivoire coach Hervé Renard was assistant coach at Ghana while Claude Le Roy was in charge. And both teams are packed with experience. The Ivorians last won the cup in 1992 beating …you are correct Ghana in the final. Oh, creamy dreamy!
- That’s another fine mess …
A few days after being told to pay around 4,000 euros because of the naughty behaviour of fans during the Equatorial Guinea v Tunisia match, the hosts have been fined the more substantial sum of 88,000 euros under the relevant sections of the disciplinary code for bad attitude and having done it before and being asked not to do it again. Equatorial Guinea have also been told that they will play a match behind closed doors if their fans don’t do decorum during the third place play-off in Malabo on day 22. Surely this is a siren call to all troublemakers out there - especially the ones carrying anti-mosquito spray canisters. Here’s an idea. Stop the rot by placing a few more cops among the rabble.
- The Confederation of African Football really means it.
Having slapped the 88,000-euro fine on the gang who saved their CAN, CAF showed that they are tough but malleable. The hawks on the disciplinary panel have been listening to the doves. “To promote a spirit of fair play and brotherhood during the Afcon 2015,” a statement cooed. “The disciplinary panel decided to suspend the match behind closed doors provided that spectators were not guilty of such a [disciplinary] offence in the 3/4th place classification match.” Bless their little laurel leaves!
- Is it ‘cos we is north African?
CAF bashed Morocco good and proper on day 21. The executive committee said Morocco could not compete in the 2017 and 2019 tournaments because they pulled out of hosting the 2015 extravganza. The Moroccans were worried about the spread of Ebola and asked for 2015 CAN to be postponed. "The CAF executive committee considered that, contrary to what the Royal Moroccan Football Federation cited, force majeure cannot be accepted for the benefit of the federation," said a CAF statement. Oh woe! The Moroccans have also been fined 880,000 euros and told to pay just over eight million euros in compensation. The review actually sees these amounts being spent in lawyers’ fees. While dealing with the northern souls, CAF banned Tunisia's soccer chief Wadie Jary from all African football activities for claiming his team had been cheated out of a quarter-final win against Equatorial Guinea. Now what made you say that, Mr Jary? Oh yes, the penalty given to Equatorial Guinea in stoppage time. Readers may recall that CAF had urged the Tunisians to come up with proof or apologise. Nary a word from Jary. Tunisia have also been warned they could be banned from the 2017 tournament if they don’t come up with the apology or proof by 31 March. Where’s that spirit of fair play? we wonder. But if Jary has been banned from all African football activities, how can he say sorry?