The euphoria and razzmatazz of the competition has come and gone but the memories and lessons learnt still lingers. It is no more news that South Africans are arguably the most hospitable people on the continent neither is baffling the news that the host team probably were disappointed by their standards but realistically, they shouldn’t because if not for Libya’s inability and unavailability to host the competition SA wouldn’t have been at the AFCON.
Looking forward,i’ll say SA,B/faso and Nigeria were the biggest winners. Bar the little, excusable unforeseen hiccups experienced during the tournament, all went according to plan. From the rabid fans to the colourful stadia, vuvuzela sounds to the beautiful opening and closing ceremonies we were treated to the best Cup of Nations yet. Not for once was i surprised because of their most recent antecedents(WC 2010).
But the tournament wasn’t far from controversy, with poor refereeing decisions, The most controversial display by the men in yellow (referees) was in the Semi-Final match between Burkina Faso and Ghana in which Tunisian referee Slim Jdedi was the center of attention. Jdedi’s performance overshadowed what was a dedicated performance from the two West African nations. He awarded Ghana a soft penalty, denied Burkina Faso two far more obvious penalties and ruled out what appeared to be a legitimate Burkina Faso goal. Jdedi’s most contentious decision in the match came three minutes from the end of extra time when he showed Burkinabe winger Jonathan Pitroipa a second yellow card and sent him off for diving in the penalty area. Television replays clearly showed that Pitroipa was fouled in the incident and that Jdedi had a clear view of the foul but decided to instead send off the player. Luckily for B/faso the ref admitted his mistake and the red card was over turned by CAF.
Not just the referees were the topic of discussion, the state of the pitch was appalling especially the Mbombela pitch, which hosted the Semi-final game between B/Faso and Ghana, the pitch was virtually all sand! Ghana is known for there free flowing football and couldn’t string good passes together, which also contributed to their exit with all the poor ref decisions. But on the other hand the boys from B/Faso had a field day! Seems they were playing in their backyard, they virtually had no problem controlling the ball.
Organisation and ticket sales were just average, of course with the early exit of south africa from the competition, it didn’t help ticket sales, but fans sure turned up for the big games. Also security was good, there was no report of insecurity recorded.
What is my final score for the tournament? I would rate it 5/10, because the referees and the pitches play a huge role in any soccer competition.
What is your final score?