26 June 2019

Africa Cup of Nations - Five Things We Learned On Day 4


Cairo — Cameroon's Indomitable Lions finally roar while Ghana's Black Stars lose their glitter. Nice one squirrels.

Best form of defence is attack

It's such an old saying but so what. Cameroon were up against Guinea Bissau for their first game as defending champions and they went for the jugular. Problem was Cameroon's front men had left their shooting boots at home. Profligate. Especially Christian Bassogo. He must have been praying for redemption at half-time. And it came with two goals in three minutes in the second half from Yaya Banana and Stéphane Bahoken. Cameroon are on their way. But coach Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert will hope for better marksmanship in the next outing against Ghana on Day 9.

Time to reflect

Boy, oh boy, oh John Boye. The Ghana defender won't be in the side to face Cameroon after he received a red card for two bookable offences in Ghana's opening Group F match against Benin. The first came after 37 minutes for a routine hack on Sessi D'Almeida and the second was for time wasting. In the 55th minute, he stood over the ball deep in his own half as if he were going to take a free-kick but then he trotted upfield to allow goalkeeper Richard Ofori to do the honours. Referee Youssef Essrayri took a dim view of their antics and brandished the yellow card followed by a red. Bye, bye, Boye.

Feeling hot hot hot

We have been resisting the temptation since we arrived but, after five days of competition, we have yielded to the dark side of sun. Yes, the review is in a pink void where the 1983 song by The Merrymen is on a loop within the labyrinth. Both Group F matches on Day 5 were played in the evening and they offered the sparsely populated stands in Ismailia an aggregate of six goals. Not bad for the neutrals.

On the market

It's often said that the Cup of Nations gives players a chance to show their potential to the myriad scouts sniffing around the venues. Logically, it must be the same for the coaches. Cameroon boss Clarence Seedorf won the Champions League four times with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan during a playing career spanning two decades. Not so good though, so far, as a club manager in Italy, China and Spain where his teams have won just 17 of 52 matches. Since succeeding Hugo Broos last year as Cameroon supremo, Seedorf has won four, drawn three and lost three matches in charge. "There is a lot of talent within the squad and a good mix of youth and experience," said Seedorf. But is that enough?

Ghana make you a Black Star

Of all the nicknames out there for the African teams involving falcons, eagles and lions, Benin has the daintiest. They style themselves as "The Squirrels". The daily review must reveal an interest here. We've always had a soft spot for the animal ever since one called Tufty featured in road safety camapigns on British TV. However. The Squirrels are up and running after their draw with Ghana. Group F might not be all about Stars and Lions.


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