Africa Cup of Nations: Five things we learned on Day 29
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Algeria get gritty against Senegal to claim the crown. And security guards show a decent turn of pace to stop Algeria's players celebrating with their fans.
Ah the joys of football. Extra police were on duty in France because of the final in Cairo between Algeria and Senegal. That’s what we call global reach. The fear was that ecstatic fans of Algeria would take to the streets and smash up the things that hadn’t been broken during the celebrations marking the quarter-final and semi-final victories.
Right wingers were playing by blinders in France following the Algeria victories that prompted the trail of destruction. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, of the Debout La France party said the French-born Algeria fans could go back to north Africa if their preference was for Algeria. "I want to say to these young people, who are a minority I hope: France has welcomed you, fed you, educated you, looked after you … but if you prefer Algeria, if it's better than France, go back to Algeria!" That there’s a born attacker.
Where do you go after an opening ceremony of singing, dancing, fireworks and pyramids? A closing ceremony consisting of singing, dancing, fireworks and pyramids. Only this time around, there were far fewer people in the stadium. That’s because Egypt weren’t around. Remember them? Unceremoniously evicted from their own party by South Africa in the last 16. Senegal v Algeria was a great final on paper. Gruelling in reality.
That's a nice touch
It was ever so heartening to see munificence in defeat. Algeria's players formed a guard of honour for Senegal's men as they went up to receive their medals and the conquered Senegalese returned the compliment. Gracious stuff. Need more of it.
Celebration time, come on ... if you're hard enough
And then all the elegance departed. Ooh it got a bit tasty after the Algeria skipper Riyad Mahrez negotiated his way past the long and winding road of football administrators to hoist the trophy with his teammates. What to do next? Simple. Go and parade said bauble before the cheering hordes who had come from Algeria and beyond to witness the triumph. Umph, no. Security guards decided not to let the players near the fans. Result? Security hazard as supporters get angry and players get irked to the point of urchin. Wonderful scenes of footballers sprinting with the contient's most prestigious trophy and security guards chasing after them. Some of the security corps should sign up for the athletics. They did not fall behind at all.
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