Report: Africa Cup of Nations 2015

Ghana prove they are better team in violence-hit semi-final at CAN day 20

Security at Equatorial Guinea-Ghana match stops mosquito-spray-canister abuse but is less effective otherwise but Ghana play a creditable game on day 20 of the African Cup of Nations.

Officials try to protect Ghana fans after Equatorial Guinea fans threw objects during the African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Malabo, 5 February 2015.
Officials try to protect Ghana fans after Equatorial Guinea fans threw objects during the African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Malabo, 5 February 2015. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
  • We can’t get away with everything

A few days ago the review was informed that we shouldn’t really have taken pictures over at the cathedral. Ah well, we thought, we’re not going to use the pictures for anything subversive. So you can imagine our surprise when we arrived to watch the semi-final between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana at Malabo stadium. The security man on the door to the press entrance said to one journalist he would have to confiscate his anti-mosquito spray as such canisters weren’t allowed into the stadium. The reporter said that was fine. The policeman said the journalist could collect it after the match. The journalist said that was unlikely. Policeman look baffled and allowed the reporter in. The guard also confiscated the review’s canister of anti-mosquito spray (just as well we didn’t take our Swiss army knife). We told the guard we’d be back during the match to use it. That startled him. Adverts as we waited for the match to start? Gervinho, Seydou Keita and André Ayew telling us, “United, we can beat malaria.”

  • Is it 'cos I isn’t from Equatorial Guinea?

The review was intrigued to see plastic bottles, rocks, stones, broken mirrors being hurled at the pitch by partisan fans after Ghana took a 2-0 lead in the semi-final against Equatorial Guinea. We’re pleased to report that there wasn’t an anti-mosquito spray canister in sight as the missiles rained down.

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  • Football is the loser

The Ghana assistant coach Maxell Konadu said on the eve of the game against Equatorial Guinea that he wanted an entertaining match and African football to be the winner. Well, it was Max, it was. But for all the wrong reasons. Riot police were deployed to the running track around the pitch, their batons ready. Quite why some of the security chaps didn’t go up into the stands to root out the miscreants was not clear. Maybe they were frightened. Maybe it’s easier to show your muscle to people coming to cover the game.

  • Ghana merely did to Equatorial Guinea what Tunisia should have done

The Ghanaians stayed on their feet, didn’t roll around on the ground and scored more than one goal. They were solid in defence and showed they were a better group of players.

  • It’s not how you play the game but how your fans let you remember it

How will the players from Equatorial Guinea look back on their semi-final match with Ghana? Pride? Satisfaction? Horror? It will probably be a mixture of them all. Equatorial Guinea lost to a superior team. Speaking to the players afterwards, they all complimented the Ghanaians. To lose is part of sport, said Equatorial Guinea coach Esteban Becker. Sometimes you beat the putative better teams, ie Zambia v Côte d’Ivoire in the 2012 final. Lobbing missiles at opposing fans, their team bench and even your own players and the ball boys strikes the review as odd to say the least. However, amid the scenes of garish violence, we are glad to report that the anti-mosquito spray canister was awaiting us on our departure from the stadium.

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