Afcon 2015: The good, the bad, the ugly

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks seven days after the end of the Afcon  2015 which was duly won by the Elephants of Ivory Coast who beat the Black Stars of Ghana 9-8 on penalties for a carbon copy of the 1992 final in Senegal.

As history would have it, it was heartbreak for the Pele family (Ayew and Jordan) following the disappointment of their father, Abedi Pele in the 1992 final.

As was the case in 1992 when Abedi wept uncontrollably after his favoured side had lost the gruelling final 11-10 to Ivory Coast, Andre Ayew could not contain his distress as he also cried hysterically in front of TV cameras beaming the showcase across the globe.

But that is how cruel the game of soccer is.

It kicks you in the teeth when you least expect it.

Never in Andre and Jordan Ayew’s wildest dreams did the two think history would repeat itself and in a cruel manner like that.

Needless to say, that is exactly what happened as the golden trophy headed to Abidjan where the victors were feted by the country’s president.

Each member  of the winning squad got a house worth $52 000 and another $52 000 in cash.

Now that is what we call being feted.

Talking of the Afcon 2015, there were lots of good things that came out of that tournament.

But for Equatorial Guinea, which took over the show with only two months to go before kick-off, the tiny central African country deserves all the kudos.

Firstly, it was a massive victory for the Ebola virus after Morocco had balked out of hosting the tournament citing fears that the disease would spiral out of control.

Many dismissed this notion as pure racism from the north African nation and the fact that the tournament went ahead without a single incident being detected during the event vindicated those who pointed fingers at Morocco.

Most things were in place by the time the tournament started.

The roads were superb, hotels top notch, the stadiums were world class and the media’s facilities were up there among the best in the world.

Equatorial Guinea were good hosts and deserve a good pass rating.

But in a country which only took over the tournament on the 11th hour, teething problems were bound to occur here and there.

But one glaring mistake was not even of the hosts’ making.

The officiating at the Afcon 2015 was atrocious to say the least.

Looking back, it might have been a great tournament with top quality football on display but the match officials almost killed the fan.

They were out of their depth and one would think they predetermined the outcomes.

The poor showing resulted in Tunisia having running battles with the official who handled their quarter-final encounter with the hosts which the later won 2-1 through some dubious decisions.

While the north Africans might have gone too far by suggesting the match official had connived with the powers that be, one feels they really were had done at the way the game was handled.

And one would even say the crowd violence that rocked the Equatorial Guinea/Ghana match was somehow caused by some shoddy decisions by the referee.

The opening goal by Ghana which came via a penalty was a contentious decision to say the least.

Lastly, from Cosafa’s point of view, it was a tournament the two participants would like to forget in a hurry.

Being knocked out in the first round was the least the two — Bafana Bafana and Zambia  expected.

Hope there are lessons to be learnt from that.

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