African Cup of Nations 2017

Good afternoon readers and welcome to Day 13 of AFCON. Some might say thirteen is unlucky for some. But it was business as usual and very straight forward for the Egyptians. They came into the game against Ghana knowing a point was enough and they did more than enough winning 1-0. Mohamed Salah of Roma continues to show Chelsea what a mistake they made getting rid of him, with his 11th minute goal securing the win. Ghana did their best to get back into the match but to no avail. Again the pitch left many wondering whether this was to play football on or let animals loose on it.

In the second match, which let’s be honest no one really cared about, we saw Mali play Uganda and they played out a 1-1 draw. It’s always amusing when teams play on a waterlogged pitch and this was no different. However, Uganda scored a peach of a goal through Farouk Miya and then the whole team, subs and all, celebrated as if they had just won AFCON. Dancing, jigging, and rejoicing, for this was their first ever AFCON goal and it was a stormer. Mali hit back almost immediately. Not to be out done, they delivered a quality strike of their own. Yves Bissouma with a thirty yard swerving free kick. It was a top draw strike and you know it’s special when they celebrate with a “dab.” That craze will never ever catch on, you mark my words!

Now that Group D has concluded we know the full Quarter Final line up. Saturday sees Burkina Faso take on Tunisia, with the evening match pitching Senegal against Cameroon. Tunisia have started to play well and Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri has suddenly reached form that no one expected, not even David Moyes. As regular readers will understand, this worries me greatly. I haven’t yet told the wife, if Tunisia win AFCON and he scores the winner, Wahbi is going on my ass. That will go down well I’m sure.

Match two sees two big guns go at it and Senegal have a very strong team with confidence high after strolling through their group. But don’t ever write off the Indomitable Lions. This will be a good game for the neutrals.

Sunday’s games see DR Congo take on Ghana and the day’s second match being Egypt against Morocco. Let’s all admit it, we would love to see DR Congo in the final and they put in some excellent performances during the group games. But they do face tough opponents in Ghana, coached by the evergreen Avram Grant.

Match two seems a classic with Egypt and Morocco going head to head. This is one match that could swing either way but looks a good prospect for goals. All four Quarters Finals look good for different reasons. I can’t wait and you cannot afford to miss out.

I will be hoping to get some celebrity footballers predicting their winner of AFCON 2017. I am sure they will all be chomping at the bit to have a punt on the winner. If I get one to answer it will be a minor miracle. But stranger things have happened and everyone loves a bit of AFCON don’t they?  If any reply they will appear in the preview on Saturday. It’s probably best for me not to hold my breath.

In AFCON news, that man is still pitching for a new club. The one and only Emmanuel Adebayor claims there is interest in him from English clubs. The rumours do say there are a couple of teams who play on Hackney Marshes having a good old look at him. He does feel he can still do a job in the Premier League, but when will he ever learn? And for the record, saying you have Golden Genes just makes you look desperate.

Zoolander actor Herve Renard, who also in his spare time coaches Morocco, has played down his teams hopes of winning stating there are better teams in the tournament. Very clever Renard, very clever.

Former Chelsea man Salomon Kalou has announced his retirement from the Ivory Coast after their elimination. If only it was that simple to retire, just ask Joel Matip.

With no games until Saturday I am let off the embarrassment of attempting to predict the games. But, just for a laugh, let’s look back at my predictions over the group stages.

Correct result predicted -12
Correct scoreline predicted – 4

Out of 24 matches that’s on par with Paul Merson if not slightly better. Ah, the only way is up, right? Whisper it quietly but the last two games in Group D? I got them both spot on. I am feeling a new surge of power, form is temporary and all that.

Trivia time readers and how did you fair on yesterday’s little teaser? The answer to “how many different AFCON trophies have been awarded over the years?” is 3. Ghana and Cameroon were given a trophy after each of them won a tournament three times, and we have the current trophy.

Today’s tester, and unfortunately you will have an extra day to wait for the answer, is, “Which two men have won the tournament as both player and coach?” Tweet @TalesFromTTF with your answer of, more likely, guess.

So no AFCON tomorrow as the tournament gives the players and reporters a well earned break, but fear not we are back on Saturday with another instalment of AFCON 2017.

Until then readers, sit back and relax because come the weekend you will need all your energy as the knockout rules come into play.