25 January 2013

Ghana/Mali: Wakaso Collects Second Yellow Card for Vest-Preaching ... But What About the Haircuts?


Nelspruit — Five things we learned on day six of the Africa Cup of Nations.

That Ghana's coaches don't check what their players are wearing. After 38 minutes young Wakaso Mubarak clinically dispatched a penalty into the right-hand corner after Adama Tamboura had brought down Emmanuel Agyemang Badu in the box. The Espanyol forward wheeled away to celebrate his strike and lifted his shirt to reveal a vest emblazoned with "Allah is great!". Referee whips out a yellow card and books the proselytiser for displaying a religious slogan. There's no room in the game for that kind of behaviour. Good God! Whatever next? Well, actually Wakaso is suspended for the crucial final match because he picked up a yellow card in the first match against Democratic Republic of Congo. Bless my soul!

That football organisations move in mysterious ways, their wonders to perform. If displaying a religious slogan is deemed a bookable offence why aren't some of the hairstyles sanctioned in the same way? Some of them are searingly offensive. Before he got anywhere near revealing his vest, Wakaso should have been cautioned for his dyed Mohican. As for his teammate Isaac Vorsah, he's sporting a coiffure that looks like gold-blasted scrubbing brushes.

It's not that hot in Port Elizabeth. The sun may be shining and the lads on the park may be sweating gallons but some of them are still a bit chilly and they have to wear a vest.

A draw is the new victory. With all the unfancied sides creating far too many difficulties for the established footballing powers, there's been no end of hugging and kissing and bum-spanking - OK, I admit I haven't seen any of that, it's an American Football phenomenon. Ethiopia's bench was drizzling ecstacy following their draw against Zambia in Nelspruit on Monday. Niger were cock-a-hoop when they held Democratic Republic of Congo to a 0-0 draw in Port Elizabeth on Thursday night to record their first point at the Africa Cup of Nations.

That there's all to play for in the final round of games in Group B. Group leaders Ghana, second placed Mali and DRC and Niger could all still qualify for the last eight. It's the same situation in Group A where hosts South Africa lead the way.

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