By Paul Bassy
Even the 0-0 draw by Cote d’ Ivoire against Burkina Faso was not considered a good result by Africaâ€™s World Cup qualifiers who were expected to dominate the competition in Angola.
First to hit the deck was Algeria who were hammered 3-0 by unfancied Malawi. Cote d’ Ivoire entered the fray against a team they mastered twice during the World Cup playoffs and drew, Nigeria was dominated by Egypt, just as Cameroun fell in a revenge match against a team they also beat home and away in World Cup matches.
It was Osvaldo, remember him? Who said to me that the World Cup teams will do well. That they came here with super star reputation, but now that they have been jolted to reality that their next matches will be different.
I knew he was trying to console me, so I decided to satisfy him by not disputing his theory. Then Algeria came in for their second match and won. Of course, Osvaldo was on hand to phone and say â€œI told you so”.
The next team was Cote d’ Ivoire, who even withÂ ten menÂ bettered Ghana in a match that was more one sided than expected.(Remember that for Ghana, this was their first match and going by the Osvaldo theory, they will beat Burkina Faso in their next match.)
The next World Cup qualifiers were again the Green Eagles of Nigeria and Osvaldo did not wait for the match to start when he told me that it will be easy, that I should not worry.
At the end of the match, Osvaldo’s excitement was punctuated when I told him that though we won, we did not play very well. He sounded as if I had just been discharged from a psychiatric hospital â€œplay well or not, victory is very important and it is three points,â€ he argued.
I rest my case, I do,
By the time you read this Cameroun would have taken on and beaten Zambia according to Osvaldo.
PUMA steals the show
Sports wear manufacturing company is the CAF partner. CAF members here are kitted by Adidas and the ball is of course a special tournament ball designed by Adidas, yet Puma is stealing the show here. Of the 16 teams here, 10, yes ten are kitted by Puma. The list is Angola, Cameroun, Cote d’ ‘Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mozambique, Ghana and lastly the departed Togo.
Adidas has Nigeria and Malawi. Mali, Gabon and Benin wear Airness while Zambia is the sole Nike representative.
Let me tell you a bit about the Puma design. If you look at it, especially from the Ghana team angle, the short looks more like a pleat skirt, very free, necessitating the provision of an â€œunderwearâ€. Also, there is the triangle in the right shoulder where the black star is emblazoned for Ghana, Antelope for Angola, Elephant for Cote d’ Ivoire, Stallion for Burkina Faso and so on.
Whats in a name?
Please remind me to tell you about some of the names I have fallen in love with here, names like Panandetiguiri, Chrysotome and Zakazaka.