SUP-Ah?! Slowmo Review – 07 (Bafana Ba’AFCoN – Edition)

In a Blog aptly titled Bums On Seats Still Matters the blogger laments the slow up-take of tickets for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCoN) tournament.  Fast forward to Saturday’s Opening Ceremony and the empty seats in the stands proved her (yes I do have it under good authority that the blogger is indeed a bloggess) assertions proved to be on point.  It is a sight that tournament organisers and sponsors will not be too impressed with, unless of course you happen to be the tournament’s main sponsor (telecoms giant) Orange, then perhaps you would have been rubbing your hands gleefully at the sight of all those empty Orange seats at the National Stadium!  50,000 fans made their way into the Calabash inspired stadium, which is 53% of the official 94,000 seater capacity, and based on the atmosphere generated I will let you decide whether that indeed was half full, or half empty.  In my corresponding PUNting Ahead preview blog I profiled the hosts’ curious AFCoN record, which seems to have been inspired by the Reversa-Jive!  A nation, and a continent, vuvuzelas at the ready, held its collective breath in anticipation of a reversal of  Bafana-Bafana fortunes.

SUP-Ah?! – AFCoN PUNts

  • South Africa -v- Cape Verde  (my PUNt = A NERVY & TENSE OPENING SCORE DRAW!)
  • Barely 5 minutes into the tournament’s opening match the nation, and continent, eventually exhaled (some through their vuvuzelas), as Bafana-Bafana & the Blue Sharks collectively conspired to damped the mood that had been stirred up by the preceding opening ceremony.  With every passing minute they played out their uninspired rendition of A Looooong Ball To Boredom, the 1st half of which was described by Bafana coach Gordon Igesund as “…a complete waste of 45 minutes…”   The eventual Nil-All DRAW added another bit of unwanted AFCoN trivia stats to the Bafana record as they continued their winless streak, which stretches back to include  the  2004 & 2006 AFCoN editions (having failed to qualify in 2008 and 2010).
  • That 50-50 result proved to a glass half empty one for the hosts if Igesund’s other statement is anything to go by.  He remarked that, “….We got a point. I don’t think we deserve too much more than that, to be honest.” Eish, perhaps it’s time to Cry The Beloved Country!
  • Contrast that with the Cape Verde coach’s sentiments and it’s easy to see who got the glass half full perspective from the 50-50 result.   “…I’m happy with the performance of the team.  It [the result] means that our team has been well organised. Not conceding goals makes the team more confident.  It’ll make Cape Verde’s 500,000 people happy (it’s the Islander’s st ever AFCoN point). Today, I can hold my head up high”  So the 50,000 “strong” crowd may have actually helped  the Blue Sharks.  I mean who wouldn’t be inspired by having a 10th of their entire national population watching them play?

2nd Round Reality Check:-

  • Cape Verde remained unbeaten as they DREW 1-All with Morocco. Their historic 1st goal coming from a man with an equally historic footy name, Platini!
  • As for our hosts, they made the most of the 75% capacity attendance that madeit to the Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban.  Staring the prospect of being labelled Sure-sure-LOSERS in the face they finally ended their winless, & more recent scoreless streaks with a much improved performance.  Now the nation can sing Sho-sho-LOZA as their AFCoN train starts to pull away in the right direction, laden with 2 goals courtesy of uMfana Sangweni and uMfana Majoro that helped them triumph over Angola with a 2-Nil WIN!  I guess you indeed can send a group of Bafanas to do a (Zimbo) Warrior’s job.

 

SUP-Ah?! – AFCoN Quick PUNts

  • Angola -v- Morocco: – I PUNted =(A Stalemate between the Sable Antelopes & Atlas Lions).  A mere 25,000 game viewers (26% of the National Stadium’s capacity….Hooray for Orange!) witnessed this stand-off as either group failed to draw blood in a Nil-ALL DRAW!
  • Ivory Coast -v- Togo:- I PUNt = (Ivory Coast VICTORY owing to the Togolese Sparrow Hawks being swatted away by the mighty trunks of The Elephants).  Game viewing of this African Safari head-to-head was done by a paltry 2,000 enthusiasts (4.7% of the 42,000 capacity of the Royal Bafokeng  Stadium in RustenburgThat is a worrying stat considering that one of Africa’s Big 5, the Elephants, were on display.  It would have also been bad for Mama Drogba’s catering business (if she managed to set up shop like she did in the 2012 AFCoN edition).  BUT the 2-1 Ivorian VICTORY, should have still brought her some joy, even if her son’s performance did not!  

SUP-Aaaargh!! – AFCoN Quick PUNts

  • Ghana -v- DRC:- I PUNted = (A WIN for Ghana as The Black Stars shoot past the Congolese Leopards).  The Black Stars shot past the Leopards from the DRC twice, only for the Leopards to change their SPOTS 3 minutes after Ghana’s 2nd goal (which was helped by a successfully converted SPOT kick) and claw their way back to a 2-ALL DRAW!  The DRC put in a diamond studded performance that surprised many, mainly because it had been reported that their camp was in turmoil.  7,000 game viewers watched this spectacle in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth (yup that’s 15% vote of ringing endorsement for the 48,000 seater stadium).
    • A lot of fans are now disillusioned by Ghana after this performance, opting instead to now throw their weight behind the DRC, whom they hope will shuffle along (Kidiaba-style) deep into the tournament.  I, however, am still backing the Black Stars to come good mainly because I believe that the theme of tragedy inspiring triumph that was evident when Zambia became Champions of Africa may still be at play here.  BUT what tragedy suffered on the shores of Mzansi could be the inspiration for a Ghana triumph  upon their return, I hear you ask…???  All I will say is that Luis Suarez had a hand in it, and the ultimate triumph will have Asamoah Gyan reluctantly stepping up (against his late mother’s wishes) to score the decisive Campionship winning penalty in the shootout. Nuff said!  Leggo BaGhan-’BaGhana!!
  • Zambia -v- Ethiopia:- I PUNted = (A Zambia WIN as the Black Lions of Ethiopia are gunned down by the Chipolopolo).  It would appear the Black Lions of Ethiopia were as liberated by their underdogs tag as the Chipolopolo were weighed down by their Champion’s of Africa tag.  There is a 50 year gap (1962 – 2012) between the time when these two nations were African footy champions, and based on their performances on the day, one would be forgiven for thinking that it was Ethiopia that were the more recent champions.  The fact that Zambia failed to conclusively see off an Ethiopian team that was making its AFCoN reappearance after a 31 year absence is worrying,  BUT the additional fact that they faced only 10 slick Black Lions for the better part of an hour, makes it worse!  Zambia were as lethal as Rubber-Bullets.  Their  1-ALL DRAW with the team from the Horn of Africa gave the fantastic Ethiopian fans (who were the more dominant of the 10,000 fans making up the near 25% of the capacity of the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit) just cause to blow their own Horns!  The ones they had left, that is,  after “showering” Zambia with a few vuvuzelas during the celebrations of Mbesuma’s opening goal.
  • Tunisia -v- Algeria:- I PUNted = ( Algeria WINs as The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia are narrowly out-foxed by the Desert Foxes).  Msakni’s front runner for goal of the tournament helped seal one of the early shocks of the tournament.  It was a strike worthy of winning any match and it proved to be the differences in a late 1-Nil WIN for Tunisia as they out-Foxed Algeria whose good fortune Deserted them at the death!

NB* majority of quoted football stats above were sourced from www.wikipedia.org

HAIB-OhMG!! Moment!

  • Barcelona were beaten by 3-2 by Real Sociedad in La Liga!  I suppose Barca learnt nothing from Sociedad’s comeback from 2-NIL down to draw 2-ALL in last season’s corresponding fixture.

PUNisher(s) of the Week!!

The 47th (XLVII) Edition of the Super Bowl will be contested for on Sunday February 3rd.  Granted, as a sporting event only the FIFA football final can lay claim to being in the same ball-park as this National Football League (NFL) extravaganza, at least stats wise.  BUT in terms of creating a once-off spectacle there is very little competition, if all any, for a SUPER BOWL.  It single-handedly commands such worldwide attention that this year the price for a 30 second television advert will set you back a record $4,000,000.00 (what…did I stutter?  Yup that’s 4 million dollars!….U.S. not Zim$, in case you were wondering).  Astounding!  BUT even in the light of all those figures the really unique element of this Super Bowl, which will set it apart from any other is that for the very 1st time it will pit two head-coaching brothers against each other.  Thanks to the efforts of Jim ‘n’ John Harbaugh, as respective head-coaches of and the San Francisco 49ers (yes that is read fourty-niners) and Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XLVII will be the ultimate duel of sibling rivalry.  This is such an historic sub-plot that the event itself has been touted as The Bro Bowl, The HarBowl and my personal favourite The Super-BAUGH!

PUNk(s) of the Week!!

Greek Super League footy Champions Olympiakos sacked their Manager Leonardo Jardim.  That in itself is nothing to warrant being called a PUNk now is it?  BUT when you throw in the fact that Olympiakos were leading the league at the time (Not having lost a single game in the Greek Super League this season. Their record stood as follows: Played: 17 Won:14 Drawn:3. ) then it sort of qualifies the Olympiakos Chairman and his board for PUNk-hood!  BUT when you also consider that they allegedly sacked him for allegedly being in the sack with the aforementioned chairman’s wife, well then that makes Mr our worthy PUNk of the week.

#Mark-Oh-Row-Coat-Oh! / Congratulations! to those who have earned it. So, based on the AFCoN attendance, or lack thereof, the fans seem to have opted to align themselves with their clubs in the whole club -v- country debate. Not only is this tournament proving, like its predecessors, to be the one that no one wants to watch, it appears it’s also the one no one really wants to win.  6 draws from the 1st 10 matches?   One would think there is a broad conspiracy for opting not to win just to prove a POINT!.. BUT, I could be wrong, in which case I would still ask you to be gracious enough to  pardonthePUN-dit.

Until the next PUNt, be GR8!!

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