So the African Cup of Nations got underway yesterday with a couple of shocking results that i was not expecting. Hosts Equatorial Guinea making their first ever appearance at the AFCON picked up 3 points from a Libyan side who failed to make their possession count.
However, the most shocking result was Senegal’s 2-1 defeat to Zambia. For such a star studded squad this was the last kind of result i expected. Amara Traore’s 4-3-3 formation with Demba Ba, Moussa Sow and Mamadou Niang failed to connect forcing Traore to make some early substitutions that not too many players were happy with.
However, going down by 2 goals with 20 minutes on the clock, some hard decisions had to be made. Remi Gomis was the sacrificial lamb as he was substituted after only 28 minutes something he obviously did not like.
In fact, pictures showing him and Coach Traore offering no salutations whatsoever during the substitution can only suggest that tension is brewing within the Senegalese team camp.
Another surprising change was the half time substitution of Niang. A veteran who has always come to the rescue of the Lions of Teranga, Niang was somewhat non existent in the match.
That said, hats off to Equatorial Guinea and Zambia. In my earlier article i mentioned Zambia would qualify from Group A along with Senegal, and by the look of it, the Chipolopolo have gotten off to a good start.
However, in the game of football nothing is certain until it is all said and done. Equatorial Guinea on the other hand had a very good showing in their game, hitting the bar twice and even having one goal disallowed but it only gets harder for them as they prepare to face Zambia and Senegal.
So Equatorial Guinea walk away from their opening game $1,000,000 richer after the president’s son if they won the match and $20,000 for every goal scored.
Zambia on the other hand know that they cannot afford to take any chances in the remaining games if they are to reach the quarter finals. Speaking after the match, Zambia coach Herve Renard credited their win to hard work and a little bit of luck.
“It’s not a surprise for us. It’s only the result of a lot of hard work. We knew we were able to do that,” he said.
“And we were a bit lucky in the second half because they hit the post.”
Photo Credit © allafrica