Fashions change but style is eternal. Or is it the other way round? We don’t care because the Morocco coach Hervé Renard was out and about in his signature outfit on the third day of skirmishes. The white shirt was, as ever, raffishly untucked. Trousers suitably dark. Jaw? Still super strong and square. Even in the heat, Renard looks cool. But the 50-year-old Frenchman is not just there as a clothes horse. No. He is in Egypt to lead Morocco to glory for the first time since 1976. His Namibia counterpart, Ricardo Mannetti, adopted a similar sartorial style. But his was a dark shirt over his trousers. Whatever happened to tracksuits?
Putting the Oh into cameo
We’re wavering between schadenfreude and pity for Namibia’s Itamunua Keimuine. The 26-year-old Dire Dawa City forward came on in the 80th minute for Absalom Limbondi with the score at 0-0 against Morocco. And what an impact. In the 89th minute he tripped Sofiane Boufal as the Moroccan surged forward. It was a clear foul but there was the usual protest before he went back into the penalty to bolster the defence for the free-kick he had just conceded. Hakim Ziyech swung the ball into the crowded area and Keimuine’s header whizzed past the Namibia goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua. You were supposed to do that at the other end, mate. We’ve decided on schadenfreude. Shouldn’t have commited the foul.
Itamunua Keimuine couldn’t even blame dehydration for his rush of blood – if that’s even medically possible. He’d been on the pitch for less than 10 minutes before he lost his head. Hervé Renard had a go at the officiating because there were no water breaks. "Why were the players not allowed to drink during the first half and the second half?” demanded Renard. "How is it possible? I was very surprised. Strange.” Oh come on Hervé, you and your shirts have been to several Cup of Nations. You know exactly how this is possible. The Group D match kicked off at 4.30pm with the temperature hitting 37 Celsius during the encounter at Al Salam Stadium. “The organisers they need to think about it, think about the players,” added Renard. “It's not us on the bench, it's the players that are making the show." Perhaps organisers feel ambulances on the field might be more exciting.
It was the legendary Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson who sneered in this way about Manchester City’s big spending antics towards the end of his reign at Old Trafford. During the Senegal v Tanzania clash at the 30 June Stadium there was a gradual rise in the noise levels as Senegal eased towards their 2-0 victory. The Algerian fans had decided to get their party going ahead of their match against Kenya. They were banging their drums, singing the old refrain: "One, two, three, viva Algerie" and generally injecting the evening air with festivity. Oh, our Algerian cousins.
As the match between Algeria and Kenya wound down at the 30 June Stadium with the 2-0 win secured, the noisy neighbours thought they’d liven things up even more by producing a couple of flares, gleefully filming themselves with said contraband and singing and dancing even more joyously about flouting the strict security measures. My, how the review chortled as the jobsworth security officials scurried round trying to prevent photographs being taken from the press stands of the merriment. We wonder whether there will be similar amounts of zeal if there is a real threat to security.