by Mark Bassey
On Sunday night, under the starry skies of Bata in Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast’s golden generation finally shone.
The 120 minutes before the penalty shoot-put was devoid of any sparkle however. Infact, the Ivorians were completely outpaced and outmuscled by Ghana, in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
They only had their destiny in their grasp, because the Black Stars, for all their industry and invention, failed to provide inspiration. There were no goals to show for all their endeavour.
Spot-kicks crowns heroes and brutally creates villains. At the end of it, Boubacar Barry – who for a long time, has been considered the weak link in the team – kept out a Ghanaian penalty and scored the winning spot kick. Hollywood writers would struggle to write better scripts.
On the other hand, Didier Drogba, who for a long time, was part of this golden generation, was not among the estatic players that went into a frenzy. The Chelsea striker announced his retirement from international football last year. And thus, the former African Footballer of the Year missed out on one trophy he will never win.
In his illustrious career, Drogba has won league titles, FA Cups, Champions League, etc. But he has never laid his hands on the silverware, that indicates to everyone that you conquered the continent.
Take Yaya Toure for an example. He has won league titles with Barcelona, Manchester City and Olympiakos. Yet, he could not hide his joy after yesterday’s game.
“Sometimes when you win with your club, it’s magical, but winning with your country is something exceptional,” the midfielder is quoted as saying by L’Equipe.
“We worked so hard to win and we will celebrate with our families. I have waited so long for this moment and to lift a trophy as captain, it’s huge.
“We must congratulate coach Herve Renard, who has done a great job. We have often been aggressively criticised.
“I’ve lost twice in the final, so to be here now is fantastic. I’m so happy.”
Ifreke Inyang is a public commentator and social media critic who has worked with a number of high profile publications across the country.