Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pharoahs Are Champions Of Africa

African Cup Of Nations Final
Cameroon 0-1 Egypt. FT
Abou Tricka 76'

Egypt have just won their 6th ACN by defeating the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 1-0. It was a very exciting 0-0 for 75 minutes, with several good chances for each team, including Egypt hitting the post early in the second half, but then a pretty massive fuckup by Cameroon captain Rigobert Song allowed Egyptian sensation Mohammed Zidan to use his considerable skill to win the ball from Song and square it to Abou Trika who coolly slotted it home just inside the far post. Sad for R Song, who not only has a nice Bob Marley look going but who is the veteran rock of Cameroon's team- dude has not only played in 7 straight African Cup of Nations but played every minute of every match. This might be his swan song for the Indomitable Lions and what a shitty way to go out. Despite Song's error, Zidan did amazingly well to win the ball and toe poke it square to his teammate to set up the goal. And to top it off, he went all Vanilla Ice today with 2 lines shaved into his hair all around the edges and a giant "Z" shaved into either side of his head.

Egypt on the other hand are now back to back champions as well.

The "Smiling Assassin", coming soon to the big time stage...

Abou Trika was easily the man of the match, and not just because of the goal. Dude was everywhere, ran his socks off, and was dangerous every time he got the ball. Already known on the continent, this tournament surely vaulted him into the spotlight, if not of the world the certainly of the scouts of Europe. Currently playing for El Ahly of Egypt, I would be absolutely shocked if dude is not signed by a major European club in the summer. Certainly one to keep an eye on, and he seems to be a very good guy on and off the field.

Yesterday Ghana beat Ivory Coast 4-2, coming from 1-2 down. A predictable result really, Ghana had much more to play for, as they were the host nation and were motivated to put in a performance and win the bronze medals in front of their home crowd, while Ivory Coast were surely disappointed not to have completed their mid-tournament anointation {is that a word?} as the best team in Africa, and possibly the best African team of all time. Ghana will look back and think of what might have been had their captain Mensah not been suspended for their semifinal, causing Essien to have to play centreback, or their original captain Appiah not been injured for the whole tournament.

And Ivory Coast remain the most talented team in all of Africa but have not been able to translate it to titles. They will still be favored as the African team to do the most damage at World Cup 2010, and rightfully so, but there can not yet be any more talk of them being the best African team ever, as this bunch has not even yet managed and ACN. You still have to say that the golden generation of Nigeria, winners of the 1993 World Youth Championship, 1994 African Cup of Nations, 1994 World Cup round of 16, ,and 1996 Olympic Champions {first 'major" international title won by an African nation, were better based on results. And probably Cameroon as well, 1984 ACN champions, 1986 ACN runners up {PKs}, 1988 ACN champions, and revelation of World Cup 1990, where they became the first and only 1 of 2 {Senegal 2002} African teams to make the quarterfinals of a World Cup.

That being said, Ivory Coast have as good a chance as any African team in recent memory to make to the quarterfinals and beyond of World Cup 2010, and they'll also have the ACN in February 2010 to once again realize their full potential.

The World Cup is only 2 years away, and although host South Africa look pretty rubbish recently, it looks like the chances are good for African success on the home continent. Ivory Coast can compete with anyone and just need to put it all together, ditto for Ghana when they are at full strength, and Cameroon and Nigeria are perennially strong. And then there is Egypt: no longer can people dismiss their 2006 ACN triumph as a fortunate one-off aided by being contested on their home soil. They have proven that they are also an African force to be reckoned with.

A great tournament overall, with 97 goals in 32 matches- the most goals ever scored in this tournament. In 2 years the ACN will be played in Angola, and I believe will also serve as World Cup qualifying for Africa.


Anonymous said...

Kanu, where did you watch the cup?

I asked my homies with Setanta and Gol and they said it wasn't on the tube - did you catch it at a pay-per view venue?

Go Gooners, Go Dawgs!


Kanu said...

I watched it on my laptop Sunday morning while lying in bed and sipping coffee- it was great.

The tournament was available online at, which takes you here:

I think the entire group stage was $19.99. I skipped that and paid $14.99 for the knockout stage, which got me all of the knockout matches, plus highlights of every match in the tournament as well as all the prior matches in their entirety "on demand". You could even choose commentary in English or French. The quality of the streams was great, and $15 was a good deal since most PPV soccer matches at pubs are $10 for one match {Setanta FA Cup matches are $10 and the final is $20}. There were 4 quarters, 2 semis, 3rd place amtch & final, so you got 8 matches for $15- pretty sweet deal.

Worst case scenario is that in 2 years, if ACN isn't available on other soccer tv outlets in the US, this will be available again I would assume- it really was a great deal.

Thanks dude- The Gunners got it done again today. 5 points clear at the top of the table, bitches!