••• BOLAS & BANDEIRAS •••

CAN ‘10: Group D CRUNCHTIME®

Posted in Uncategorized by Steven Villereal on January 21, 2010

A good Thursday to all readers who are turning to us for the “latest” on CAN ’10 news & views…it’s the last day of the group qualifiers with the conclusion of Group D. ANY of the four participants can qualify through today…and currently its TUNISIA 1-0 CAMEROON and still 0-0 between GABON (current group leaders w. 4 points) and ZAMBIA.

I’m gonna attempt to awaken my critical apparatus/put my feet up and watch the game(s?)—for TRULY up-to-the-minute journalism complete with bonus strata of cultural effluvia you HAVE to turn to casual-griot/African football analyst Paul Doyle’s coverage:

13 mins: Eto’o, marooned out on the left as part of Le Guen’s odd masterplan, collects the ball and attempts to drive inside, but is repulsed by a Tunisian defender. “Mention of the Zambia team reminds me of the days back in ’95 when I used to play Actua Soccer on the family PC,” recalls Elliot Carr-Barnsley, all misty-eyed. “Every time Kalusha Bwalya got the ball, anywhere on the pitch, the commentator (Barry Davies?) would shout “BWALIYYYAAAA” as if he’d scored. Happy days. I once spent a day playing the whole of Euro 96 on that with a friend. Good times. I remember the sun being out outside but we had no need for it.”

The game is rapidly turning ugly/heated, with the Tunisians especially seeming intent on kicking Cameroon, shin-trodding, etc.—they have 3 yellow cards already, including a barge outside the box by their keeper that likely should have been red?

Stomping out A. Song

…oooh and it’s ZAMBIA 1-0 GABON now through a Rainford Kalaba goal!!! A win would give the Chipolopolo 4 points, level with Gabon (with whom they would then win a head-to-head tiebreak!).

‘Tis CAMEROON 1-1 TUNISIA an hour in…a draw is good enough to send Cameroon through. They still look pretty wobbly at the back though, so unsure how likely it is to end 1-1!

WOBBBBBBBLLLLLE: it’s 2-1 to TUNISIA as substitute Cameroon CB Chedjou heads the ball back over his keeper for an own goal.  oh fuck and as i type it’s 2-2?! Another one of coach Paul Le Guen’s 6 substitutes is the side redeems Chedjou’s own goal: rightsided mifielder Nguemo is set up at edge of the box and blasts in. Village Elder Rigobert Song is now coming off the bench here to offer defensive “stability” to the Indomitable Lions…

…oh and meanwhile during that goal spurt, James Chamanga felt the goalvibes and put in a 2nd for the Copper Bullets of Zambia! as it stands AT THIS MOMENT, Cameroon win the group and will play Nigeria in the QF and Zambia would play Group C winners Egypt.

AND THAT IS HOW IT’LL END! The quarterfinals are all set, and we’ll have our first gameless lull of the tournament—phew! No massive surprise qualifications emerged out of the groups, save for Zambia who have to be seen as the minnows against a fluent-looking Egypt squad looking to win a record 3rd consecutive cup. Nigeria-Cameroon on Monday as well! Although both sides have showed stuttering form, Cameroon offered up more convincing evidence of offensive creativity, although their defensive frailty has been demonstrated in equally “creativity” spells.

SO LONG! Until we meet again, hopefully with a live quarterfinal extravaganza this Sunday…até la!

Sunset in Lubango and on the group stages

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