Day: February 12, 2013

The 2013 African Cup Of Nations – The Final, And Review

For all the praise heaped upon Burkina Faso for their unexpected run to the AFCON 2013 final, there is little doubting that Nigeria were the best team in the tournament. The Super Eagles only showed this intermittently in the final itself, most importantly with the appropriately-named Sunday Mba’s stunning winning goal and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama’s stunning 72nd-minute save from substitute Wilfried Sanou. However, their performances over the three knockout games were far and above what any other team could consistently produce over a mostly disappointing three weeks of football. ITV’s Jim Beglin maintained his fixation with the “surface,” noting on about 94 occasions that the one at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg (‘Soccer City’ to its mates) was “lively.” This, he claimed, was due to a concert there the previous week by that well-known beat combo he appeared to call “Red Hot and the Chilli Peppers.” Rock on, Jim. Mba’s goal, therefore, was even better than it looked, as he had the wherewithal to deal with the “surface” by not letting the ball hit it when he flew past Burkinabe beard-of-the-year Mohamed Koffi and fired his left-foot shot past keeper Daouda Diakite. The goal arrived in the 40th minute. But by half-time, it was being noted around the world that Mba loves scoring on a Sunday – having scored the winner in the quarter-final against Cote D’Ivoire seven days...

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Football, Autism & Me

There’s a lot of negativity written about football, some justified, some not, but much of it adding to a sense of ill-feeling about the game. Football can, however, be a force for good and this good can be found in some unexpected and unheralded areas. Here’s Jack Howes on how the game has helped him with his Autism Spectrum Disorder. We have reached a point with football now where we’ve effectively reached a state of Bad News Saturation. We’re so used to hearing of corruption, mismanagement, greed and people with more money than morals ruining football that it hardly bothers us now. High ticket prices? Pah, people pay them so it doesn’t matter. Match fixing? Ah well, it’s only foreign teams that do it. Doping? Erm…yeah. Sepp Blatter running football? We can’t get rid of him so let’s just wait till he dies or is incapacitated. And as long as your team wins and the football you watch on TV every week is enjoyable, who cares? This cynicism and pessimism about football is sad.  Not only because it doesn’t have to be like this, but because football can be a force for good, in so many ways. Whether it brings a son and a parent closer together, gets a troubled kid off the clichéd street corners into a healthier environment, helps the homeless, brings opposing troops together like it...

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