More shocks and surprises are on the cards with match day 3 of AFCON set to begin later on today. As things stand, co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Tunisia have all sealed their places in the next round.
Friday’s thriller between Gabon and Morocco that saw the Co-hosts win the game with the last kick of the ball probably has to be the most entertaining match of the competition thus far.
That said, there have also been disappointments that cannot go unmentioned. Senegal who i considered one of the hot favourites and who i was looking forward to watching, will be heading home despite the result from their final game against Libya tonight.
A serious case of overconfidence proved to be their undoing as two consecutive losses to Zambia and Equatorial Guinea ended their hopes of lifting the maiden title.
Ivory Coast on the other hand have once again failed to excite despite having some of the best players in the tournament.The Elephants might have sealed their place in the quarters, however, looking at their performances, i won’t be shocked if they don’t go all the way.
They play slow and look unmotivated and both their victories have not been convincing. It really makes me ask what is happening to African football? Interest in the tournament has gone down greatly to the extent that we have players quitting their international career to focus on their club committments.
This is the case for Ghana and Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng who quit last November to focus on his club duties. It gets sadder as players who should be role models let their egos get to their head.
Indomitable Lions Captain Samuel Eto’o might be the highest paid athlete in the world but his constant battles with the local federation have seen Cameroon fall from grace which ultimately cost them a place in the finals.
So how can the African game be improved? Personally, i think the only way to salvage African football is by strengthening African Leagues and this can only be done by investing both in the players and the infrastructure otherwise it won’ be long before no one will be watching the tournament.
It is sad, but that is the reality. That said, today’s matches will see Zambia face Equatorial Guinea while Senegal and Libya will lock heads in the other fixture. A draw will be enough to take Zambia through while Tunisia have to win with a huge margin and hope Equatorial Guinea can do them a favour and beat Zambia for them to qualify to the quarters.