Hello readers and welcome to Saturday. Hold on, what do you mean there’s a match on today? You’re kidding right? Sorry, the 3rd place what? Ah crap!
Welcome to Day 20 and to the one and only 3rd place playoff for AFCON 2017. That feeling I just had was probably the same as all the players, staff and supporters of Burkina Faso and Ghana. But fear not, surely this game will be a classic. No one really caring, both teams wanting to go out with a bang, this will be the classic game I have promised you all tournament. This is the medal to win people, you can throw away your winners medal, definitely your runners up, this is the one everyone wants. The AFCON 3rd place play off winners!
So let’s look at the two teams and how they match up.
Burkina Faso are a team who are fast becoming a real challenger to the big boys in African football. They have Prejuce Niguimbe Nakoulma who has played well this tournament. The big powerful winger plays for Turkish club Kayserispor. They also have Bertrand Traore of Ajax on loan from Chelsea. After scoring 4 goals in 5 games last season for Chelsea you would think that would be enough to stay. Not at Chelsea, where it makes more sense to loan hundreds of players out and hope to sell them for millions after they improve away from the club. It’s an interesting business. The Stallions will be hoping to beat Ghana and continue their decent performances throughout AFCON.
Ghana and coach Avram Grant will want to put the disappointment of losing to Cameroon behind them, especially given the amount of chances they had to win in their semi-final. Grant has not been able to hide his disappointment and has spoken to the press to breath some confidence back into the Black Stars. Ghana have Premier League stars Daniel Amartey of Leicester and West Ham’s Andre Ayew. Former Sunderland player and Ghana star Asamoah Gyan will be hoping to get on the score sheet today and win the biggest prize going. Ghana will go into the match as favourites.
As I mentioned earlier this is the one to win. Over the years, in many tournaments, there have been drab 3rd place matches with neither teams wanting to play the game after losing a semi-final. But one things for sure, it’s a chance for teams to make many changes and give some players a chance to get a run out. Basically giving the crap players a game.
The 2015 tournament pitched Equatorial Guinea with DR Congo. The game slipped to penalties with DR Congo winning the match 4-2 on spot kicks. Congo madness erupted.
The 2013 third place play off final was more entertaining with Mali beating Ghana 3-1. The Mali fans celebrated like they had won the tournament. This game does mean something!
But this will be a good game. A couple of changes each will freshen the teams up and we could have an open match with goals and excitement. Then again I’ve been wrong before.
My prediction for the game, and yes I’m going for goals, is a win to Ghana 3-2. Let’s see that big Avram smile for one last time.
In AFCON news the stupid comment of the week goes to Bob Bradley who congratulated Egypt on reaching the final. He added he was proud, like all Egyptians. Last time I looked Bob, you were American. But hey, when you’re out of work you need to keep yourself refreshed in everyone’s mind. Sometimes talking complete drivel works, it clearly worked for Bob during his Swansea interview.
From the stupid, to the well, stupid. An 85-year-old woman has successfully predicted who would win both semi-finals. The old woman is a ‘sangoma’, yeah I have no idea what that is, but sounds mystical. Apparently she makes a decent living off predicting football results. Some of her work includes predicting that the Ivory Coast and Senegal would not do well. She does admit, however, that sometimes her ancestors are mischievous or get it wrong. So basically, what she is saying is, if she guesses wrong, she blames her ancestors. That’s brilliant work. Only in AFCON people, only in AFCON. For the record she has predicted that Cameroon will win the final. She has added her ancestors are shouting a lot and are disagreeing. Strangely enough she doesn’t predict the third place play off. Which goes to show her ancestors couldn’t care less about the game either!
So on to trivia time. So who got this one right? The answer to, “who is the only British born coach to win AFCON?” is Mike Smith, who won the tournament in 1986 as coach of Egypt. Mike also managed Wales and Hull City.
Today’s AFCON trivia is, “what rule was rescinded in 1982 for all AFCON tournaments going forward?” You know the drill, if by some miracle you know the answer tweet @TalesFromTTF.
So whatever happens sit down and watch the game. Don’t believe anyone who says the match doesn’t matter. It matters to everyone; this is the one to win. Ah who am I kidding, this game is pointless, but mark my words readers, it will still be a classic!