Report: Africa Cup of Nations 2015

CAN quarter-final line-up is all humdingers, Equatorial Guinea fans gear up to face Tunisia

Goodbye to him? Mali's Seydou Keita
Goodbye to him? Mali's Seydou Keita AFP

The lottery system is unloved, Mali is unlucky but we have the quarter-final line-up on day 13 at the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).

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  • This is a tournament for the fleet-footed organised by clodhoppers. Before we get swept away by the drama of the day 13 lottery to decide the runner-up from Group D, we have to ask a question. If the organisers can change the location for a quarter-final from Ebebeyin – potentially to the disadvantage of the team scheduled
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  • to play there – to Bata for playing surface reasons, then why can’t they just as quickly change the rules about the drawing of lots to decide the runner-up from a group? No-one was happy about the lottery ceremony at the Hilton hotel in Malabo on day 13. Ok, perhaps the bar manager was chuffed. 

  • Mali were unlucky on day 13. The Mali football association chief Boubacar Diarra, will long have nightmares about this day. He put his hand into the pot first and pulled out the ball with the number three, thereby condemning his players to the long ride home. As he choked back the tears, Amara Dabo from the Guinea sports ministry completed the formalities and plucked out the ball sporting the number two.
  • The quarter-final line up is now complete. Ghana v Guinea ….Côte d’Ivoire v AlgeriaTunisia v Equatorial GuineaCongo v Democratic Republic of Congo. All humdingers and they’re gearing up in Bata for the national team’s game on day 15. On day 13 horns and flags were being handed out for the populace to blare the wonderfulness of the team. The supporters will be loud and proud and out there.
  • The Confederation of African Football is considering a rule change. What one would that be? The one that says let’s leave common sense behind and run with something that upsets the players, the reason people come to tournament? Er, yes. A CAF spokesman said on day 13 that the executives will look into changing the regulations about drawing lots. The rule has had its day, it appears. But at some point some people sat down and actually agreed to put the drawing of lots to decide a winner into the book. The law didn’t just descend out of the ether and ensconce itself next to the rule about penalty shoot-outs after extra-time. Picture the scene: a slew of suits return on a hazy afternoon after a lavish lunch on an opulent balcony overlooking a swanky beach resort. They sit down in their well-upholstered meeting room bubbling from the sea breeze, tick a few boxes and agree a few more statutes, one of which reads: “We hereby decide to make future executives look like right and proper idiots.”
  • Speculation here but perhaps farewell Seydou Keita. The Malian midfield maestro has probably played at his last CAN. At 35 it’s unlikely that he’ll be back for an eighth CAN. It’s a shame that he missed a penalty in the match against Guinea on day 12. Even worse that he is on the way home due to a bizarre rule. But if it is to be his last CAN, then we at the review hail him. He has beacon of brilliance over the years. He’s so good, he makes even weekend shufflers think they could do that. Which of course they can’t because they’re not that gifted.

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