The Return Of The Brazillians From Africa....

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Readers of my previous blog dedicated to the 2006 World Cup will be well aware of my African heritage. This week the African Cup of Nations kicked off in my country of origin Ghana, with the Black Stars going up against the world power of Guinea in the showpiece opener. They call Ghana the Brazil Of Africa, and for good reason, yes they may have Junior Agogo of Nottingham Forest and Arsenal failure Quincy, but when they all step on that pitch it is a sight to behold, with a passing game only rivalled by the ever so annoying Gooners(yes I am clearly over hyping them, but aren’t we all guilty of getting a bit too excited).

If you have ever travelled to a country Africa, you will know all about the special saying “This is Africa”. It’s a saying used to describe all the comedy things that happen in Africa, which could only happen in Africa, astonishing things that happen, that you accept as common behaviour. When the tournament kicked off it was quite clear that we would be hearing that saying a lot of times. I said to myself “Please don’t embarrass yourself Ghana, the world is watching”, but from the moment the whistle blew in the opening match I was already hanging my head in shame.

The pitch for the “showpiece” was an absolute disgrace, as if they told the grounds men to make sure the ball cant roll more than 2 metres, with the grass so long you could only see half the ball and none of the players boots, I bet the sponsors were outraged. The match more than made up for the debacle, with the Black stars kicking off with a superb win over Guinea thanks to an absolute roaster from Sulley Muntari which he claimed was a goal which healed sickness. It takes a team with supreme skill and heart to play slick 1 touch football when knee deep in grass.

The Nigerians our bitter rivals lost out to the tournament favourites the Ivory Coast thanks to surprisingly skillful goal from the often erratic Solomom Kalou, to be honest I will put this goal down to good fortune rather than anything, with the Nigerian defence spreading quicker than the legs of a Dutch prostitute, I seriously wonder what the real average age of the Super eagles actually is? Kanu is now 52, Martins is 36 and Yakubu is nearer 35 than 25. Despite the lights failing during the national anthems, Kanoute was still able to put Mali into a good position scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Benin. The Champions Egypt punished Cameroon 4-2, with a sublime display of attacking football and the Angolans were held to a draw by the South Africans after a brilliant goal from New Man Utd star Manucho. How long before Man U fans tell us he is the second coming and future world player of the year? All in all it’s been an exciting start to the tournament on the pitch, regardless of the teething problems off it.

Now on to the television coverage, beware of every cliché in the book from so called “knowledgeable” such as “typical naive African defending”, “look at that robust midfield”, “The goalkeepers are so eccentric”, “look at that power, pace, power, pace, strength” and lets not forget ”the north Africans play a European style of football”. Sometimes I wonder why the commentators don’t comment on the size of the African players’ penises, might as well throw in as many urban myths(or truths) as you possible can. Also be sure to avoid the BBC’s coverage at all costs, they have done some simple maths to decide which pundits to give their “expert” analysis. I think it something like this, Africa + Football + Black people = Garth Crooks, who knows absolutely nothing about the African game or football in general, but he’s clearly the most qualified for the job(sigh). Switch over the Eurosport to watch Stan “Overweight” Collymore providing a very informative assessment of what’s really going on and what players to watch out for, I have been pleasantly surprised.

Regardless of the terrible pitches, awful commentary clichés, insane goalkeeping and terrible punditry, this years African nations will be the best ever in my book, yes I may be biased, but never has their been so many high profile African players represented in the biggest and best leagues in the world, so if you want to watch free flowing, attacking and often dangerous and amusing football, forget the Emirates, just switch over to Eurosport, you wont be disappointed.

2 Responses to "The Return Of The Brazillians From Africa...."

Anna Says:

TIA. I love it.

Oh, and you forgot 'athletic' in your list of cliches. It's always 'athletic, this' and 'pace, that'.

Oh and Guinea are not doing half as bad as I expected them too. Giving Morocco a run for their money.

Sunil Says:

I noticed today that Mark Bright is covering the African Nations for the Metro newspaper.

Are they not allowed pundits who arent black to cover this thing?

I am surprised they havent wheeled out Arsenio Hall to present all the coverage.

Come on guys, lets sort it out