Pomp and Pageantry..mixed with Cup of Nations surprises on opening day.

The last golden rays of light streaked towards the earth displaying a perfect definition of an african sunset as the sun crept to sleep slightly north of west of the Equator. The stage was set in Equatorial Guinea for the opening ceremony of the biggest Football Tournament in Africa with most of the continent’s prominent soccer nations flags in absentia due to the simple fact that they couldn’t qualify.
As expected it didn’t disappoint.
This is Africa,the drums rolled and dignitaries bearing flags as multicolored  as their attires trouped in to sounds of their  national anthem and french commentary.
After the pomp and pageantry, the spectators both home,abroad,at the venue and in house,settled down for the main dish; the game between Hosts Equatorial Guinea vs Libya(famously qualified despite all their internal politics).
The game as expected wasn’t a tactical or highly technical one -do not forget,its africa- but had all the grit,strength,flare and 1 nil score line of most games in africa. After both sides took a lot of time to settle into the game, a lone goal by Javier Balboa of Equatorial Guinea in the 87th minute was all that was needed to settle the tie giving the host their first ever win in a Nations cup final since it inception.
The next game was the highlight of the day in which we saw the chipolopolos of Zambia tame the mighty Teranga Lions of senegal who came with a star studded line up consisting of Sow,Niang and co
at the Estadio de Bata.
The Zambians took a shock two go lead in the first half courtesy of Mayuka and Kabala -very unknown names- with Senegal’s Ndoye reducing the deficit to a one goal lead in the 74th minute ending the game 2-1.
Todays games were from  Group B and featured tournament favorites Cote de Ivoire against minnows Sudan. Sudan lost by 1 goal.

By Jeroh Tejiri

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