by Jeroh Tejiri
The last golden rays of light streaked towards the earth displaying a perfect definition of an African sunset as the sun crept to sleep slightly north of west of the Equator. The stage was set in Equatorial Guinea for the opening ceremony of the biggest Football Tournament in Africa with most of the continent’s prominent soccer nations flags in absentia due to the fact that they couldn’t qualify.
As expected the ceremony didn’t disappoint.
This is Africa, the drums rolled and dignitaries bearing flags as multi-coloured as their attires trouped in to sounds of their National Anthem.
After the pomp and pageantry, the spectators both from within Africa and from abroad, at the venue and in their homes, settled down for the main dish; the games. Hosts Equatorial Guinea vs Libya kicked off the season.
The game as expected wasn’t a tactical or highly technical one but had all the grit, strength, flare. The score was 1 – 0 which in opinion, is the score line of most games in Africa.
Both sides took a lot of time to settle into the game, however, a lone goal by Javier Balboa of Equatorial Guinea in the 87th minute was all that was needed to settle the tie giving the host their first ever win in a Nations cup final since its inception.
The next game was the highlight of the day in which we saw the ‘Chipolopolos of Zambia’ tame the ‘Mighty Teranga Lions’ of Senegal who came with a star studded line up consisting of Sow,Niang and co at the Estadio de Bata.
The Zambians took a shocking two goal lead in the first half courtesy of Mayuka and Kabala with Senegal’s Ndoye reducing the deficit to a one goal lead at the 74th minute ending the game 2-1.