Now that the first round of games are almost over with one group remaining, let’s talk about the Africa cup of nations 2012. It’s a bit late for a footynions perspective on the tournament, but we preferred waiting for the right moment.
Most of you must know by now that our other past time away from football revolves around the assorted flavors that can be legally smoked through a pipe. Emphasis on the word legally. Hence, this article will naturally revolve around that.
From the 10 big screen plasma TV’s that were placed all around the joint we frequent, focus was on two. Now, I have to say this place would normally be quite animated during Champions League, EPL, top games of La Liga and Serie A, and during anything related to Arab leagues and cups. But the atmosphere was anything but that. Very peaceful.
Continuing with eyes on these two TV’s, a group of individuals from Sudan are sitting around playing cards, sipping on their cups of Moroccan tea and enjoying their sheesha while watching their country play Angola in the group games. A goal down owed to an early scorcher from Manucho (yes the guy from Manchester United), this, what may seem like an impassive group shrugged off the goal like it was expected. They get back to doing what they were doing.
Almost half an hour later, there was a sudden roar that comprised of a few deep African vocals. They had managed to score the first goal of the tournament. The festivities lasted for all but 12 seconds with us, the Egyptian servers and a few other guys joining them in their celebration. Then it died out for the entire game although the game ended in a tie (2 – 2). Felt like they had specifically come to watch Sudan score their first goal.
What was the point that I was getting to? Yes, basically no one cared. But there must be someone who truly does out there other than the inhabitants and expats representing the continent.
It would mainly be the managers of various clubs who have lost their African players to the tournament and who would probably be hoping and praying relentlessly, that the nations they represent do not qualify for the quarterfinals. Newcastle United will be ecstatic with the fact that both their strikers, one who is currently their top striker, Demba Ba and the other, the newly purchased Demba Cisse would be back earlier than expected.
Also caring about the situation would be CEO’s of various clubs. They would be hoping that their players come back healthy. At the same time, trying to figure out a compensation package and lawsuit against the nations that have called on their salaried employees if they get seriously injured during international duty.
The tournament itself does not have even the least required of the media coverage around the globe. Obviously, some people may argue otherwise, but whom are we kidding? The continent is known as a flea market for Clubs, where they enter whenever they want and get them young for a cheaper price.
Now we all know the capabilities of teams such as Nigeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Egypt, etc as we had been witness to it whenever they showcased themselves at a global level. But imagine a tournament without Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt, which is the case of Afcon 2012. No Egypt, the seven time champions?
To make it more surprising, top nations like Senegal (World Cup experienced and a potential Afcon 2012 winner), Morocco and Angola (both World Cup experienced) are already out of the tournament.
On a more positive note, it was good to see teams like Sudan and both the host countries (Gabon & Equatorial Guinea) qualify for the quarters. Their chances of making it through to the finals are quite bleak as teams like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Tunisia have qualified as well.
The competition does have its benefit, especially for athletes that are participating in it. A chance to showcase their potential to the watching world and hopefully to one of the scouts that would be sitting in one of the empty corners of the stadium. It has acted as a platform in the past for players to move on to bigger and better clubs and this would not be any different.
All I can say, I hope that Sudan ends up qualifying to the finals. For a few reasons. One would be because; doing so, could most likely unite the country in their efforts to achieve peace. Somewhat like what it did in Iraq after they won the Asian cup back in 2007. Second reason would be; to watch this group of people produce the insane vocal resonance that just sounds amazing and hence, the opportunity to join in and throw a few of my own.