Hello AFCON lovers, here we are on Day 3. The weather in Gabon is hot and humid. To be honest, it’s quite a mixed bag with sunshine and rain. Unfortunately the Tales budget doesn’t extend to sending me out there so I’m freezing my nuts off in the UK in what I can only describe as arctic conditions. The cold and ice hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm though as we look at two great games from last night.
Algeria took on Zimbabwe in the first game and a good game it was. Finally Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez not only found his paracetamol but actually took them to cure his six month hangover, and he burst into life. Mahrez opened the scoring with a delightful curling left foot shot and, much later with 8 minutes to go, he levelled the score after Zimbabwe had gone 2 – 1 up. His shot from 25 yards seemed to bounce through the keeper and this wasn’t the only goalkeeper error! Zimbabwe’s first goal showed up a net minder who’s mind maybe was anywhere other than AFCON. David James once blamed playing PlayStation after a woeful performance. You wonder if M’bolhi could use something similar? Mind you, in 2017 would it be a PlayStation? Who knows. But a score draw seemed a fair result.
Disappointment of the day has to be everyone’s favourite headliner Knowledge Musona going off injured. To quote the French playwright Moliere, “Without knowledge, life is no more than the shadow of death”. Over dramatic, maybe, but after hours of research this was the best I could come up with. Today’s competition is for anyone who can come up with a better knowledge headline or quote. Tweet @TalesFromTTF. Just for the record, there is no prize on offer other than your name in lights on the next AFCON report. That people is your dream prize right there.
The second game of the day saw Tunisia play Senegal. Africa’s most expensive player, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane scored from the spot after Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham was sliced down in the box. We saw another first half goal, this time by Kara Mbodji with a powerful header. The goal sealed the win. Tunisia had chances to score but failed miserably leaving Senegal top of the group, ok after one game, but still top.
After my prediction disaster in the first three matches, finally I got one right! Perfectly right in fact, a Senegal win and Mane to score – we will brush over the predicted score line and pretend that never happened. So not that perfect, but close enough! But I do feel my luck is turning.
We move on to today’s games. Both are taking place at the Stade d’Oyem which I’m told on good authority is a 20,500 capacity ground built solely for AFCON 2017. You’ve got to love Google.
The first game pits tournament favourites Ivory Coast against Emmanuel Adebayor. Well, Togo to be precise. The current holders of the trophy will be looking to start well and with Wilfried Zaha in good form they should romp to victory. I can’t see anything other than a win and goals for the Elephants. But this is AFCON where anything can happen. With everyone’s favourite player Adebayor looking for a new club he will be out to impress. Cue minimum running, lots of hand and arm gestures when the ball doesn’t fall to him, and pretty much nothing else. One thing’s for sure, after all that he’s bound to pop up on the scoresheet. Who knows maybe run the length of the pitch in wild celebration goading the crowd? Surely no one would ever do such a thing would they Emmanuel?
The second match sees DR Congo play Morocco. Now things have not gone smoothly for Congo who have boycotted training, protesting over reduced bonus payments as well as payments owed from 2015. This is not ideal preparation for any game especially one as big as this. How they are going to fair against Morocco is anyone’s guess. Yannick Bolasie of Crystal Palace admitted “it’s not ideal”, luckily you’re not pointing out the obvious there Yannick.
I have to admit I feel this is a conspiracy towards me as I did tip the Leopards for surprise runners up in the group. Once again AFCON has come back to bite me.
With the turmoil over in the Congo camp, the male model better known as Herve Renard will be hoping to grab a decent result against a team who have spent more time in their hotel than on the training pitch. How The Lions of Atlas could do with 3 points early on the board with a squad devoid of creativity.
In other AFCON news, AFCON has apologised to all after the national anthems of Cameroon and Burkina Faso failed to play. Apparently a technical issue was to blame for the lack of tunes. Where’s Diamond Platnumz when you need some Bongo Flava? Talking of Diamond, what did we all think of the opening ceremony now the dust has settled? I have got to say I’m still having nightmares over the dancing bear with his oversized head. That bear is one of the biggest I have ever seen and I’ve met Pudsey. However with a little bit of colour, some people hanging on rope and some fine music we were treated to sheer AFCON delight. Apart from the bear. I will never watch any bear related TV ever again.
Now my time to embarrass myself. Ivory Coast to beat Togo 2-0 with a red card for Adebayor. Here’s hoping the red card comes true. I will be keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed. This I admit will make the game difficult to watch. However rumours watching the game cross eyed will improve the match are just scandalous.
Game two featuring DR Congo and Morocco will finish 1 -1. That is of course if Congo get paid and decide to turn up.
Now the part you have all been waiting for. The answer to yesterday’s question of “who is AFCON’s top scorer in one tournament?”
And the answer obviously the one and only Ndaye Mulamba of DR Congo (formally Zaire) who scored 9 goals in the 1974 tournament. Zaire won the trophy after a reply 2 – 0 against Zambia. You all got that right didn’t you? Of course you did.
So today’s tester is as follows; Which single player has played the most games in the AFCON tournaments?
As usual tweet your answers to @TalesFromTTF
So to finish up, a small rendition to poor DR Congo who we hope can remember what a ball is after no training for days. Altogether now, ‘Um Bongo um Bongo they drink it in the Congo!’
Still don’t remember the advert? Shame on you all. Until tomorrow readers, enjoy the beauty of AFCON.