29 January 2013

Ghana/Niger: Ghana With the Haircuts Beats Niger Comfortably at Africa Cup of Nations

opinion

Nelspruit — Five things we learned from Day 10 at the Africa Cup of Nations.

It's a surprise when the natural order is restored. There are 70 odd places in the FIFA world rankings between Niger and Ghana. And it was duly exhibited in the final Group B game between the two sides. Ghana won it 3-0.

Vincent Enyeama 1 Officials 0. It's running on the internet that the Egyptian referee who, according to Enyeama, made the "worst decision in the history of football" when he awarded Zambia a penalty in the 84th minute against Nigeria, has been sent home by the tournament organisers the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

A referee's lot is not a happy one. Niger, when trailing 1-0, had a goal disallowed for a foul on the Ghana goalkeeper Abul-Fatawu Dauda. The official was right that there had been an infringement but Dauda was hampered by his own man. That means the goal should have stood. Maybe CAF should think of chartering a plane.

There's a competition in the Ghana squad for the dodgiest haircut. In the review's mind Isaac Vorsah's blond brush wipes the floor with all pretenders. But team mate Asamoah Gyan has gone for the two pronged approach. He has the number 3 etched onto his head on one side in an ash-blond melange. On the other side there's a bow and arrow type ensemble. Well, at least it's not a religious slogan.

Huddles in the middle are too much of a public display of affection. I'm all for bonding with your team mates, slapping and even fisticuffs of encouragement à la Mario Balotelli and his Manchester City pals. But clasping hands near the middle of the pitch just seconds after you've come out of the dressing room at half-time seems un peu too much for old school me. It suggests faux team spirit. Ghana had a cuddle during their match against Niger.

And quite rightly Niger melded manfully. The review believes the contents of the huddle should be broadcast. If the players are praying, God help them. If lifting your vest à la Wakaso Mubarak to reveal a religious slogan is a yellow card offence, then mass invocation of a deity must be worthy of a red. Referee? I've not seen any of the huddles given a mass sanction. CAF, get a larger plane.

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