Rainbow Nation shines again

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa will today close what will go down as undoubtedly the best African Nations Cup tournament ever held, with the Rainbow Nation setting lofty standards for future hosts of the continent’s premier football showpiece.

Following a successful hosting of the World Cup in 2010, the Afcon tournament has been a piece of cake for Africa’s most prosperous nation.

South Africa’s world-class facilities and the country’s tremendous ability to host major sporting events, which charmed the world two years ago, meant Africa’s premier football competition was always going to be a stroll along the beach for this well-resourced country.

Why this Nations Cup will be unparalleled on the continent in a long time is that the Afcon 2013 Local Organisation Committee (Loc) has simply followed the structure of the 2010 World Cup, so their task was made easy by the notes taken from Danny Jordaan’s book of Mzansi 2010.

And just like they did in 2010, South Africans have warmed up to visitors from the continent and beyond, another good advertisement for the country.

Despite poor attendance at some matches, the atmosphere has been electric, with the fans who have attended creating vibrant, dynamic atmospheres.

The football on the field, on the downside, has not been of the highest quality.

There was also the much-talked about state of the Mbombela Stadium pitch and some questionable officiating by some of the men in black here.   

However Burkina Faso, Nigeria’s opponents in the final tomorrow, did beat Ghana in a highly entertaining semi-final on Wednesday in the best game of the tournament so far.

The Burkinabes have won a lot of sympathisers here among neutrals, and with Nigeria being backed by a huge contingent of their nationals resident in this country, the two teams are set for a blockbuster match-up. - Enock Muchinjo in South Africa

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