Algeria grind their way past Senegal while Kenya and Tanzania serve up a footballing treat in the game of the tournament. An old school thriller.
The Group C heavyweights Senegal and Algeria concocted a gritty number for us. It was stop-start gruel in which more than 50 fouls were committed. It was that committed. We felt like being committed. Anyway. Algeria edged it 1-0. They are through to the last 16. Senegal will join them if they manage to refind their mojo against Kenya in the final pool game. The Kenyans will be on a high after edging a wonderful match against Tanzania 3-2. Total contrast to what had gone before. It was fast and untrammeled. "They're our neighbours," said Johanna Omolo, who scored Kenya's second equaliser. "And everyone's been talking at home about how we cannot lose against our neighbours. We also knew that it was our only shot to make it to the next round."
Big game hunters
After a parish skirmish, Kenya take up the regional colours in the match against Senegal. A draw would put them in contention for a place in the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams. Over the years, west African sides have been hogging the Cup of Nations honours and the limelight of appearances at the World Cup. But Kenya from Group C and Uganda from Group A have a chance to fly the flag for the east in the last 16 at the Cup of Nations.
Sébastien Migné, the Kenya coach, hailed the Kenya players after the match against Tanzania. The Frenchman has been at the helm of the national team for just over a year. He said the players had written a page in the history of Kenyan football. Indeed. Kenya hadn't won a match at the Africa Cup of Nations since 2004 - when most of the squad were still at school.
Back to school
Tanzania are out of the tournament. They take on Algeria in their final pool match and even if there were to beat them, the match between Senegal and Kenya will determine second and third place in the group. Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amuneke said Tanzania's appearance - its first since 1980 - was an achievement but more work had to be done. "The reality is we don't have the experience to compete with the rest of the teams in this competition," he added. "Being in the tournament is a big eye opener for us but we'll have to go back and see how we develop our players."
The new breed needed to succeed will be lads who can be coached, says Amuneke. "The modern footballer needs to interpret the game. The player must know what to do when he has the ball and when he doesn't have the ball and we lacked that." Food for thought, then. When Tanzania face Algeria on Day 11, they'll not only be playing for pride. It will be an existential moment for Tanzanian football. The players will measure themselves, for sure. The football administrators will also have to ask themselves: do we just want our sides to arrive or do we want them to compete?