Five things we learned from MatchDay 1 of the 2013 Afcon scrutinises the first round of matches at the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa as it enters Matchday 2 on Wednesday
By Kwesii Asomadu

The first round of fixtures in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations has bitten the dust, as 16 teams battle for slots at the knock-out phase.

The major story of matchday 1 was reigning African champions Zambia being held by minnows Ethiopia whiles hosts South Africa failed to impress against debutants Cape Verde.

With Matchday 2 coming off on Wednesday, looks at why the Ethiopian fans were beautiful, but at the same time ugly in terms of attitude, and why Kidiaba and Mweene are the goalkeepers to watch with delight at the 29th edition of the Afcon in South Africa.


On paper Ethiopia versus defending champions Zambia was a walk in the park with a motorcade clearing the way to make it even easier for the Chipolopolo, but the script was quickly thrown away as soon as the camera panned on to the beautiful and colourful Ethiopian supporters. If this was the Rainbow Nation, the Ethiopian fans were the human representation on the Rainbow. On the pitch too they played some unbelievable stuff. If Herve Renard is seen as a coach with movie star looks, then this game was his audition for a role in a horror movie - Angels of Darkness. And the Angels from Ethiopia did show a dark side. After their goalkeeper was sent off for a kung-fu tackle they started throwing objects onto the pitch. They resumed with their game of “Dodge the Vuvuzelas” when Zambia took the lead and the players went to the corner flag to celebrate. The sounds from those Vuvuzelas are already annoying enough so need to throw them at people. Good to hear Caf, who often pretend to run African football, has taken action against them.


Forget Gangam style and Azonto for a minute.  The new dance on the block is the Warriors dance by DR Congo’s goalkeeper. Kidiaba has been doing this for a while but with the whole world watching him creep into all of the alleys of cyberspace. The ridiculous nature of this dance means unlike Azonto or Gangam style not a lot of people are going to try it, but then again not a lot of people reason like Mamadou Gaye.


Well Fergie Time is the newest slang for injury time or the dying embers of a football game, named after Man United’s coach, Sir Alex Ferguson. It is an acknowledgement of some sort to Sir Alex’s team unrivalled ability to score game changing goals in the last moments of the game. The Nations Cup has had its fair share with all three wins so far as a result of late goals. Seydou Keita was the first to unveil Fergie Time at the tournament, with his winner for Mali against Niger. Then Burkina Faso scored one to clip the wings of the Super Eagles of Nigeria and send a nation of 150 million coaches back to the drawing board. In Group D it already a theme with Gervinho’s Fergie Time strike helping an unconvincing Ivory Coast to victory. In the North African derby between Algeria and Tunisia, Msakni whipped up a wonder strike to decide the game also in Fergie Time. 


Surely no player at the Nations Cup will be relishing going up against Kennedy Mweene from 12 yards. The Zambian goal keeper’s penalty saving exploits is one of the main reasons why Zambia are the Kings of Africa. He was also on hand to save the Chipolopolo from embarrassment in their qualifier against Uganda which had to be decided on penalties. Mweene has returned to this year’s Nations Cup in the same penalty saving form he exited the last one with, saving Saladin Said’s strike. Every time he does his “you cannot see me gesture” it sort of points to how sadly Africa failed to see him during awards season.


The draw for the Nations Cup took place a couple of months ago but it has taken another form in South Africa. Five of the eight games played so far have ended in draws with Groups A & C recording no wins thus far. The last two games of Match Day 1 saw back-to-back wins and hopefully the goal shy teams in Group A can carry the baton and serve us with goal fests and wins.

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