Recap of Day 8 of the Africa Cup of Nations
On day eight at the Africa Cup of Nations: the legendary Didier Drogba gets dropped; goalposts fall apart; and discussion continues over a controversial referee decision on Friday's game between Nigeria and Zambia.
- You may be a living legend and be adored as a demi-god, but you can still get dropped. Didier Drogba started Côte d’Ivoire’s second game against Tunisia on the bench. Admittedly the big man had been abject against Togo in the first game. His replacement - if that’s possible - was a reedy lad named Lacina Traoré.
- 22-year-old Lacina Traoré, who’s playing in his first Africa Cup of Nations, hasn’t come under the influence of senior squad players such as Salomon Kalou and Didier Zokora. Salomon Armand Magloire Kalou sports Kalhuno on his back. Déguy Alain Didier Zokora has sensibly steered clear of comparisons with Brazilians preferring the more sedate sobriquet “Maestro”.
- They need stronger goal frames in Rustenburg. In the 85th minute Algeria’s Adlane Guedioura ran into the Togo goal after failing to connect with a through ball while his side chased a way back in the game against the west Africans. His course was, of course, stopped by the goal net. But the momentum of the player somehow caused the left hand goalpost to come out of its bracket in the ground. The match was stopped for nearly 15 minutes so that a gaggle of officials and handymen could organise and reconstruct the broken upright. To quote a doyen of British sports commentary: Extraordinary.
- Vincent Enyeama might have a point. On Day 7 we highlighted the Nigerian goalkeeper’s vituperative remarks about what he considered to be degenerate officiating after the referee, Grisha Ghead, awarded a penalty to Zambia in the closing stages of Friday’s clash between Nigeria and Zambia . Enyeama described the call as “the worst decision in the history of football”. I’ve had time to reflect on Vince’s rant and I’m more gutted – to cite many a British footballer - by the horror of Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal – when the ball was clearly well behind the line - during the England v Germany match at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The Confederation of African Football might well have been weighing up an appropriate sanction for Enyeama. But they’ve doubtless put their sanctions on hold for a tad longer. The referee in the Togo v Algeria match played 13 minutes of stoppage time to account for the broken post. Just as well it didn’t take half an hour to fix the offending article.
- Gervinho is a good player. Presumably that’s why Arsène Wenger urged him to swap Lille for Arsenal a couple of seasons ago. Gunners fans watching the Africa Cup of Nations might well wonder why the dinky dreadlocked dynamo doesn’t dazzle at the Emirates and elsewhere in England in the famous red shirt but seems a wily wizard in the orange of Côte d’Ivoire.
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