The Groundsman’s Shed

ACN: King Tut’s Got Nothin’ On Us. by groundsman
February 11, 2008, 1:55 am
Filed under: African Cup of Nations

“C’mon you Pharaohs!”, doesn’t have a familiar ring to it- but that’s exactly who kept the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon (even the team names have a breathless quality) at bay in a sweeping end to the thrilling African Cup of Nations.   For whatever reason, many of us didn’t rate the Egyptians to win (I was rooting excitedly for Ghana), which as Tom Dunmore writes, we really shouldn’t have.

Increased television coverage, excitement over the African teams spilling over from the 2006 World Cup, and the tendency for African players to shine brightly for European club teams made this tournament a hyped (but not overly so) event. The world’s eyes were on the continent to see how the players would play, and how the local businesses and governments were holding up under the pressure of the major tournament. In 2010 the football loving world (which is most of the globe) will turn a critical eye toward South Africa, and it is imperative that the area is well percieved.

As late as last year, there were still mumblings to the press that the 2010 Cup could still be moved to a more “first world location” if local organizers “couldn’t get their acts together”. Journalists who went to the African Cup of Nations seemed to be pleased with the play, yet still hesitant to praise the administration.

When will African football be taken seriously? When will the images of Africa change from the horrific and patronising “starving monkey” stereotypes? When will the sport in the country cease to be connected with corruption and disenfranchised players? 

I don’t know. 

For now, a look at our present and a look toward the future.


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