- Mariko Ishizuka / AFP) (Photo by MARIKO ISHIZUKA/AFP via Getty Images
Africa at the Olympics
Following the completion of the first round of games across the men’s and women’s sections, Goal points out some of the stand-out incidents or feats from the first round of fixtures at the Olympics.
Tercious Malepe, Luke Fleurs & Ronwen Williams shine despite defeat
South Africa already faced an uphill task facing the hosts and they could have secured a creditable draw after top-class performances from the trio.
Malepe and Fleurs were solid at the back, tackling, blocking shots and clearing the ball from harm’s way, with the latter winning all six ground duels.
Whenever the Japanese got past the pair, Williams smothered and made saves to keep the host nation at bay.
Indeed, the 1-0 defeat could have been higher had the experienced 29-year-old not made four saves.
Egypt’s draw against Spain was laudable
Given the talent in the European nation, they were expected to defeat the young Pharaohs with relative ease on Thursday.
However, the North Africans’ gave as good as they got to play out a goalless encounter in Sapporo.
Shawky Gharib’s team had to ride their luck at times, with Spain hitting the woodwork in the first half and ramping up the pressure after the break, but they held firm.
They owed their point to Mohammed El Shenawy, who made a staggering five stops on the day as well as Ahmed Hegazi who marshalled the African nation’s backline estimably.
- Cosafa media
Barbra Banda shines despite Zambia annihilation
Ostensibly, Zambia’s 10-3 thrashing by the Netherlands may be devoid of any positives owing to the magnitude of the defeat.
Nevertheless, Banda’s hat-trick is worthy of mention.
The Shanghai Shengli striker set multiple records with her treble: becoming the first Zambian to score in the women’s football tournament, and becoming the first from her nation and from Africa to score three times in her first game.
She also overtook Nigeria pair Mercy Akide and Perpetua Nkwocha as the continent’s leading scorer at the quadrennial sporting showpiece.
In spite of the nation’s hammering, Banda was a ray of light and will be one to watch in Zambia’s next two games.
- Getty Images
Ivory Coast do the needful against Saudi Arabia…just
Many expected a straightforward victory over the Arabians, but the West African nation made things difficult for themselves on Thursday.
Eventually, Franck Kessie scored what turned out to be the winner six minutes after the hour mark and Ivory Coast held out for the remainder of the game.
It was just what the doctor ordered, but Soualiho Haidara’s team have to improve going forward.
Amad Diallo must grow into the tournament
Of course, it may seem odd to be singling out the Manchester United man because he set up Franck Kessie’s winner, but he had an underwhelming tournament debut, nonetheless.
The youngster lost the ball on many occasions and was second-best in seven of 10 total duels before his 89th-minute substitution.
With Brazil on the horizon, Ivory Coast will need Amad firing on all cylinders if they’re to shock one of the favourites.