Well here we are. The day has finally arrived. This should be on top of all football fans diaries. Confused? I know what you’re thinking. It’s not FA Cup week. It’s not Champions League week. It’s not even Mickey Mouse Cup week. No my friends, today is the start of AFCON 2017 or for those not quite street enough the African Nations Cup.
If you’re still unsure, clearly you have stumbled across the website in error, you might be looking for www.airforcecontrolledunit.com. This is what happens when things get abbreviated. But while you’re here stay awhile, have a read and put your feet up while I tell you about the excitement of the first day of AFCON.
Today, in fact at 4pm we kick off the tournament with none other than the hosts as the mighty Gabon take on Guinea Bissau. The game will take place in the truly beautiful Stade d’Angondje. If anyone can confirm this I would be grateful. With both matches today taking place at the same stadium it will be interesting to see how the pitch fares. We can only hope it cuts up to give us even more comical moments. That’s the beauty of the tournament you see.
As hosts, Gabon will be looking for a good start and to get three points on the board. They need something to put a smile on the Gabonese people faces who are still reeling from the economic crisis caused by the collapse of oil. We are not sure if this is to do with engine oil or Olive Oyl. If it’s the latter Popeye will be distraught. But enough on political issues, we are here for the football.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund will be hoping he can get off to a flying start and shoot The Panthers to victory. Sunderland’s Didier Ndong will also be hoping to start – odds on for a yellow card in the first 15 minutes if he does.
It’s surely party time for Guinea Bissau who are on the verge of their first ever match at AFCON. All eyes are on Francisco Junior to show the world what Everton have been missing. I’m confident this one won’t come back to bite them.
The second game features Burkina Faso against Cameroon. I can’t see anything other than a win for the Indomitable Lions. Even with a weakened 23 they should still have enough to beat The Stallions. Vincent Aboubakar of Beskitas should bag a couple in a comfortable win for Cameroon.
One for the Spurs fans in this game, keep a look out for Clinton N’Jie who is currently on loan at Marseille. For all other fans, avoid social media at all costs if he scores or even gets a sniff. It’s really not worth the pain.
As you’re reading this you have probably been wowed by the opening ceremony featuring the amazing Flavour ‘N’ Abania and Diamond Platnumz. Apparently Diamond is a Bongo Flava artiste and, yes, I did need to Google exactly what that is. All I can tell you is this. He is renowned to be the best around at what he does. The thing is I am still none the wiser what the hell Bongo Flava is so answers on a postcard please.
Now for some AFCON news as we go around the teams. Algeria’s Saphir Taider is out injured and misses the tournament. But fear not, they have called up Arsenal youngster Ismael Bennacer. Now I am no expert, but really. Clearly Bennacer did enough in his one and only substitute appearance against Sheffield Wednesday last season to show that he deserves a place in the 23. More than likely he was the only player who had nothing else to do for 3 weeks.
Another player struggling for fitness is Ivory Coast’s Lamine Kone, though they had no problems without him after thrashing Uganda in a friendly 3-0. It’s going to be a long tournament for Uganda. When I mean long I don’t mean they will be there for the whole 3 weeks, more likely they are going to ship a lot of goals and lose every match. Let’s be honest, if Wilfried Zaha can score against them then it’s open shop for anyone.
Finally, in other AFCON news, a hockey player playing for the Ghana Police thwarted a robbery incident involving the Ghanaian football team. Details are sketchy but the hero in question walked away with a wound to his head. This man is clearly a hero in the eyes of the Ghanaian players with many tweets praising him for his heroics. For those with an interest in hockey, the Ghana Police have just progressed to the Cup Semi Final.
Only in AFCON people, only in AFCON – how many times will I say that this tournament?
So as always I show off my predictions skills, which will go some way to show I clearly know nothing about football. But here goes!
Gabon to beat party nation Guinea Bissau 3-1 with a couple of goals from Aubameyang for good measure. Francisco Junior to reveal a Liverpool shirt underneath his tracksuit top with Evertonian’s world wide suddenly understanding why he was so bad at The Toffees.
Burkina Faso put up a fight for the first 10 minutes before losing to Cameroon 3-0 with a hat-trick from Aboubakar.
One thing is for sure if you want to enjoy the games – look out for dodgy defending, some even dodgier decisions and more importantly, watch the games with the sound down. Eurosport and ITV 4 are not renowned for their commentary. But then again it could be worse – It could be Michael Owen.
It’s time to get out my vuvuzela and invite everyone to have a blow.
AFCON 2017 has arrived!