• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Memorable moments of AFCON 2015

Lessons from AFCON 2015

After 23 days of exciting action in Equatorial Guinea, it is hard to forget the drama that went with the championship.

Morocco had originally been named to host the tournament, but then asked for it to be shifted over fears of spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) turned down the request and subsequently stripped Morocco of the tournament, as well as ejecting their national team from the competition.

Having previously been barred from the event themselves for fielding an ineligible player in qualifying, Equatorial Guinea stepped in to take on hosting duties, while Morocco have subsequently been expelled from the next two tournaments.

The 30th edition of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament is now a thing of the past, however, it left sweet memories for some and bitter ones for others.

After 32 games and 23 days, the biggest soccer party in the continent of Africa ended in Bata last Sunday with an emotional win for Ivory Coast over Ghana.

The AFCON was hosted against a backdrop of fears of Ebola but the championship recorded no single case of the virus, which affected largely three West African nations – Sierra Leona, Guinea and Liberia.

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Good

The LOC must be commended for organising a smooth tournament amidst the fear of deadly Ebola virus.

The tournament itself was professionally organised despite the short notice. The organising committee did an excellent job in ensuring the most loved football tournament ran smoothly and left sweet memories for football fans.

Equatorial Guinea must be applauded for successfully hosting the tournament after only two months of preparations; a demonstration of Africa’s determination to defeat the Ebola Virus.

The African Union commended CAF, Equatorial Guinea and President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo for hosting a successful AFCON and as a demonstration of African unity and solidarity in defeating Ebola.

The tournament was broadcasted to many footballing countries on the continent and kudos to CAF and its broadcasting partners. The football family witnessed and enjoyed seeing their stars and heroes throughout the 23 days spectacular.

Toure-Cup

Although football analysts predicted that the final could be between the two African giants, it was also a doubt considering the groups they emerged from. Although, the Ghanaians did everything within their powers to claim the trophy, luck was not with the four-time African champions.

However, both teams must be praised for such a wonderful, thrilling and highly technical final that kept the fans on the edge of their seats. The Elephants eventually won the tournament on penalties.

Herve Renard, Ivory Coast coach, made history as the first and only coach to have won the African Cup of Nations twice with two different teams having won it with Zambia in 2012.

Renard took over an Ivory Coast team in a rut and dragged them right out of it. Winning it with a second team with a different nation had never been done before. His side’s may not be pretty but he’s kept his cool throughout, while his comforting words for a distraught Ghana team on Sunday night showed him to be a class act.

Sad

CAF on how they eliminated Mali. This will remain the topic that tops the list in as far as the tournament is concerned.

In their final Group D match, Mali were level with Guinea and the decision to find the second team joining Cote d’Ivoire seemed a little unjust. The Eagles had to wait for almost 24 hours to know the result as CAF conducted the lots draw. The result could’ve been fairly decided on penalty shootouts on the same night.

Ayew-cry

The poor officiating made by the officials in some of the matches left a bitter memory in the hearts of many soccer fanatics. A match between Tunisia and the hosts Equatorial Guinea left so many people calling for the head of the ref. By and large, CAF still needs to improve on match officiating.

The number of goals scored in this edition is very low compared to previous editions. The top goalscorer (Andrew Ayew) walked away with the award after netting only three goals. In 2017, fans will be expecting to see many more goals.

Anthony Nlebem

@Anthony Nlebem