26 January 2013

Africa: Fashions On the Football Field At CAN 2013

Nelspruit — Fashion and football mixed on the seventh day of the Africa Cup of Nations: Zambia's head coach changes his trademark look; Ghana players sport intriguing hairstyles; and on a more serious note, a controversial referee decision in the Nigeria-Zambia match.

There's a change happening in African football. Zambia coach Hervé Renard's "look" on the sideline has mutated even more. In the game against Ethiopia his trademark white shirt/blue jeans combo has been ditched for a white shirt/black trousers number. In the match against Nigeria "Le Look" was a dark jacket, black trousers and white shirt. He still leans against the post of the dugout, though.

There's nothing like a good old fashioned rant about the ref. Nigeria skipper Vincent Enyeama excoriated the officials following the 1-1 draw with Zambia. "It was the worst decision in the history of football," said the irked keeper after Grisha Ghead pointed to the spot following Eddy Onazi's manhandling of Emmanuel Mayuka six minutes from time.

Even in despair, generosity can radiate through the darkness. Enyeama was a hapless spectator as his Zambian counterpart, Kennedy Mweene, took a few steps and languidly dispatched the ball high to the right of his rooted adversary. "I respect each opponent," reflected Enyeama. "When he came he played a great penalty and that was it." Actually, no it wasn't. "But the call, I guess, was one of the worst calls I've seen in my life."

Dodgy blond stuff on the top of your head isn't restricted to big strong Ghana centre backs. On Day 6 Isaac Vorsah stood out for one of the most intriguing styles I've witnessed in a while. Ahmed Musa's ginger brush was remarkable while he ran the wing for Nigeria . But the bonce of Aristide Bance won the day. His shock of blond dreadlocks was a midfield beacon for Burkina Faso's stars as they glittered their way past Ethiopia and to the top of Group C.

Jealousy is a powerful motivator. On the eve of the clash against Ethiopia , the Burkina Faso skipper Charles Kaboré spoke about how galling it was that nobody from his country was up there with the poster boys of the tournament. The left leg of Burkina Faso's Alain Traoré might soon be gracing the billboards: it's been responsible for three goals so far. His second goal against Ethiopa, from 25 metres out, was a strike of lambent genius.

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