Daily News Break: African Cup of Nations Edition

News of the Day for January 11, 2009

I am a happy man at the moment, as I have just received my belated Three Kings Day gift of the return of my lady from a long vacation in France. Naturally she came home horribly sick, but hey, a sick lady is better than no lady at all, though I am now charged with cooking for two instead of just one, which I was struggling with as it was. But nevermind the pharmacy runs and the all-night cough fests, there’s news afoot and it must be covered.

Today’s update will deal entirely with the African Cup of Nations, where The Yaya and Keiteee, along with a few other people you may have heard of, are currently playing for ultimate continental glory. One cannot forget, of course, the horrible incident involving the Togolese national team, but the games are going on nonetheless and I feel duty-bound to cover them.

The tournament’s first match took play yesterday in Group A between host Angola and Mali and turned out to be a wild and crazy one. Angola went up 4-0 in the 74th minute (36′, 42′, 67′, 74′), but was promptly returned to earth by Mali, who tied the match in the 94th minute through Mustapha Yatabaré after our very own Seydou Keita scored in the 79th and 93rd minutes. Freddie Kanouté scored their third second goal in the 88th minute. Absurd, to say the least, but fulfillment of the old saying: “Don’t count your match winning goals before the final whistle.” Video of the goals can be seen here.

Today’s matches started with another Group A match between Malawi and World Cup team Algeria. I am not particularly well-versed in the various qualities of African national teams, but Malawi finished third in the final World Cup qualification campaign behind Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso with 4 points from 6 matches. Algeria, on the other hand, qualified over African powerhouse Egypt, which is impressive. The final score of the match was 3-0 in favor of Malawi. How does that happen? This is how, apparently.

The other match for today was between Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso in a rematch of their WCQ matches. Both of their matches ended in the Ivorians’ favor (2-3 away and 5-0 at home), but today’s match ended 0-0. The Yaya apparently took pity on the, um, Burkinese? Burkinos? Wikipedia will answer this! Burkinabé, apparently. Huh. Highlights and a Letizia Seychell link here.

And then, finally, the news that Togo has been officially expelled, in essence, from the Cup of Nations for failing to show for today’s match with Ghana. I realize that there is a schedule to maintain, but are you kidding me? The Togolese team returned to Togo, but then decided to play the tournament, but were too late to make their match against Ghana, so the tournament refused to allow them to return. The Guardian has good coverage of the situation. Expelled because they returned home for a few days after their team bus was attacked and members of their organization and team were killed? Really? There’s ridiculous and then there’s that.

More Barça news later.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Blow-Granite
    January 11, 2010

    Loved the highlights of the Keita inspired comeback.

  2. ElShowDeJason
    January 11, 2010

    “who tied the match in the 94th minute through Mustapha Yatabaré after our very own Seydou Keita scored in the 79th and 93rd minutes. Freddie Kanouté scored their third goal in the 88th minute.”

    Let me put this chronologically so that I may understand this correctly…

    Keita scores in minute 79
    Freddie Kanoute scores their third at minute 88(?)
    Keita scores in minute 93 and
    Yatabare in the 94th…

    are you sure Kanoute’s was the third?

  3. ElShowDeJason
    January 11, 2010

    btw, Isaiah, i love that this blog covers world soccer. Although our main focus is Barca, we are a diverse group of people who just love the game.
    And I think it is important to know what is happening globaly, in the football community.

  4. Tyler
    January 11, 2010

    Keita is wreckin shop! Hope he stays healthy and brings back even more silverware!

      • Blow-Granite
        January 11, 2010

        They can share the spoils by being in the Finals.

        • Tyler
          January 11, 2010

          Haha, I know after I typed that I was like, wait, what about the Yaya. And since The Yaya seems to control the universe through unexplained magnetic forces, I’m sure petty silverware does not feed his thirst for planets. Therefore, he should allow humble Keitee to benefit from this loophole.

  5. BA
    January 11, 2010

    i’m on my laptopor i would, but could someone PLEASE photoshop The Yaya’s head onto the body of that robot from The Day The Earth Stood Still, and put little Xavis and Iniestas scampering around it’s feet?

  6. amal
    January 11, 2010

    I Guess Kanoute Scored the Second Goal. That Was An exceptional Comback You don’t See this Everyday.

    BTW. I thought ESPN will cover the tournament 🙁

  7. Kxevin
    January 11, 2010

    So, those Mali shirts are like …. the hotness. Must have one.

    • January 12, 2010

      Seriously. When I posted that picture I thought the same thing.

  8. Diane
    January 12, 2010

    Thanks for adding the wrap-up on the insane treatment of the Togo squad, AFTER they were shot at for half an hour and lost a few friends! It is truly beyond ridiculous.

    I can usually separate the greed/politics/various-isms and general inhumanity of the people who run sports from the wonder of seeing them played. But sometimes those realities just piss me off too much and this is one of them.

    I’m hoping to get back to appreciating what the rest of the players in the tournament are bringing, and I’m sure that’s even tougher than usual now, but for now I’ll be over here muttering expletives >-/ .

  9. inNYC
    January 12, 2010

    I’m late and nobody’s probably reading this anymore, but…WHAT!? They werent’ allowed back in? That is some very weak sauce.

    • Diane
      January 13, 2010

      Just came back to see if anyone else was muttering. The topic seems to have disappeared from most coverage, beyond the fact that Group B appears in the media with three teams in it and no mention of why this is strange, and of course sick.

      I’ve been watching sports too long to be surprised by anything, but…!

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