All eyes on Angola…except South African eyes!
There is a lot of excitement in Angola as the southern African country anticipates the opening match of the 2010 African Nations Cup (AFCON). Ok, I’m lying – I don’t really know what’s happening in Angola because it seems that the mainstream South African media has conspired to do everything to make this year’s tournament a non-event.
Yes, we know that Bafana Bafana failed to qualify – but that’s no reason to snub the AFCON - especially since Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Ivory Coast will all be there – gauging themselves against the African powerhouses before taking on The World in June.
As if that’s not bad enough – the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and French sports rights company, Sportsfive, are still engaged in a tug-of-war over broadcasting rights- two days before kick-off!!! How incompetent is that? It is alleged that a contract worth R1 billion was initially signed by the two parties in 2008 but the new SABC Board didn’t like the paper it was printed on and also figured that it’s a rip off -therefore they tore it up and called for fresh discussions. Now I don’t know how these legal battles work – but for the sake of the football-loving South Africans – I hope this issue will be resolved TODAY.
Well, if we get to see any of the action you can expect the best of African football –as the African stars based all over the world – from Adebayor to Zaki – all return home to showcase their talent. The Elephants of Ivory Coast are touted as hot favourites – a tag they also held in 2008 before they were crushed by current champions, Egypt, in the semifinals. Will they carry that tag all the way to victory this time?
The Pharaohs are still licking their wounds after they missed out on a ticket to South Africa – losing in a playoff match to their rivals Algeria. An unprecedented third title on the trot would certainly make it more bearable for them to watch the World Cup on TV. Let’s hope they won’t lose any money from their luggage this time.
As it always happens before a major competition, most nations have high expectations for their teams – some of them a bit unrealistic – but the real business happens on the field. The Sportlite will shy away from making predictions this time around – but I will divulge that my positive energy will be directed towards the Angolan Team. We all know that the progress of the host team usually has a positive effect on the tournament – and for that reason I’d like to wish The Black Antelopes the best of luck.
Let me also take this moment to salute Cameroonian veteran defender Rigobert Song on his imminent eighth appearance on the big African stage. The way things are going – old Song might play with his grandchildren one day.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the competition as it progresses and we are looking forward to heated discussions with our readers from all over Africa – and the world over. Let the games begin!
Africa Cup of Nations 2010 :
10 January 2010 – 31 January 2010