Monthly Archives: November 2011

All the Info You Need on the African Cup of Nations 2012

Drop your Vuvuzela and meet me by the Baobab tree because its time to buff up on Africa’s ‘Euros’.

Qualified Teams

For those who know a little bit about the continental football of Africa, the list of teams going to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea makes interesting reading. The final groups for the tournament are:

Yeah, that was put together in MS paint

So no Algeria, no Nigeria, no Cameroon, no Egypt, and no South Africa.  In fact, only five of the qualified teams have won the cup before (it’s traditionally a fairly open contest). The smart money has to be going with four-time winners Ghana, or the Ivory Coast. I’d like to put Tunisia in with a really good shout this year too.


The qualification had a few points of interest, namely something more shocking than if Jaws had apologised to Steve McQueen and become a community support officer. Yes, Sepp Blatter was actually involved in something correct! Togo were reinstated to qualification after their ban was lifted. They failed to qualify anyway but it was good to see justice done, especially when you consider what their ban was for.

Group G

The real action came in Group G which lined up seven times winners (including the last three) Egypt and World Cup 2010 hosts South Africa, with Niger and Sierra Leone. The script read Egypt going through, with South Africa clinching a best runner-up place, however this was not to be.

Niger’s formidable home form saw them grab wins against all three teams in their backyard, Sierra Leone keeping pace with South Africa against the poor Egyptian team. The final ties left SA and SL needing a win topple Niger who were sitting at the top. Niger went to Cairo and lost 3-0 keeping in theme with their contrasting away record, this left Bafana Bafana and the Leone Stars fighting for a win to take the group.

What occurred next is one of the biggest fails in footballing history. South Africa, knowing they had +1 goal difference over Niger, played for a draw against Sierra Leone in Nelspruit. SA manager Pitso Mosimane sent out a conservative team and succeeded in playing out a 0-0 draw, the team celebrated (even multiple dances!) at the whistle, and the South African Football Association president went on TV to congratulate Mosimane and his team.

But uh-oh, turns out the ACN qualification ties are decided by head-to-head record rather than goal difference. The embarrassed aforementioned SAFA lodged an appeal, and the shamed Mosimane said “Africa is a jungle, my friend. The European and South American formats are so much better because everything is running smoothly, but it’s very difficult to play in Africa.”

Pro tip: Read the rules of tournament you are competing in

Players to watch

Issam Jemaa – Tunisia + Auxerre: Jemaa was the qualifying rounds top scorer, racking up six goals including at hattrick against Chad. With Tunisia’s fairly prominent attack he could have a great tournament. He also once scored one of the flukiest goals ever:

Demba Ba – Senegal + Newcastle: Assuming the striker continues his form for the Magpies he could have a great time in front of goal for the Senegalese. Scored a crucial 92nd minute winning goal against Cameroon.

Yaya Toure – Ivory Coast + Man City: The player’s impressive form for City is no less impressive for The Elephants. I would expect him, along with the likes of Drogba and Gervinho, to make the final.

Jerome Ramatlhakwane – Botswana + Vasco da Gama: Although debutante Botswana’s chances are slim, Ramatlhakwane’s five goals can’t be overlooked for their importance – four were winners. Could be a surprise package.

Moussa Sow – Senegal + Lille: Making up Senegal’s formidable attack with Ba and Mamadou Niang is Sow. The 25 year old has a great scoring record in Ligue 1 and 2012 could be his moment to make an impact on the grand stage. Check out this cracker against Lyon:


The lovely men and women at Puma who make nine of the qualified team’s kits decided to get creative with their ACN editions. They drafted in a local artist from each country to design parts of their respective country’s kit. This culturally adept move has produced some decent results too:


Burkina Faso

Some more can be checked out here. Namibia’s is pretty swish too.

The tournament begins 21st January.

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Movember: Help Get Lawro’s Tash Back!

All you have to do it write your name and click. Give it a go or feel bad about yourself for the remainder of the month every time you see Lawro’s hairless lip

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The Five Footballing Halloween Horrors #1: Tackles

Don’t miss the other horrors: part #2, part #3, part #4 and part #5

Boy we’ve sure been through some horrors over the past days. But nothing, not even Baggio’s barnet, could’ve prepared you for tonight’s blood strewn, brainless, fright fest. Tonight we look at tackles. Not the good ones either, we’re looking at tackles that would make Graeme Souness’ face scrunch like he was eating a lemon. Tackles that would make Chopper Harris hide behind the sofa. Let the horror commence…

(Warning, some of these are pretty graphic and won’t be suitable or those of you who wear tiny little booties with pink fluffy frills.)

Nigel de Jong vs Xabi Alonso, World Cup Final 2010. There are a few times when bad tackles aren’t intentional (Adam on Parker a few weeks back?). Sometimes the player has his blinkers on and is just committed to getting the ball, sure it looks bad when they connect but if they didn’t make contact it would look fairly normal. This isn’t one of those cases.

I really rate de Jong; I think he is right up there as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. But he is definitely at fault here, whether going for the ball or not. He just is never going to win it, and to attempt to do so in such a manner was reckless.

Still at least we got a sweet gif out of it.

Benjamin Massing vs Claudio Caniggia, World Cup group stage 1990. Now I got to admit, I love this tackle. Of the many memorable moments for Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup, this is the greatest. It was the opening game, and Cameroon were leading a woefully under-performing Argentina 1-0 in a shock result. A result that must be protected at all costs.

Now, what I like, is that during Caniggia’s long run, he gets challenged three times and not one of them are trying to get the ball. However, where two had failed to ‘break up’ the attack, Massing would not. He would not even feign a legitimate tackle. Massing was going to halt Caniggia. Full Stop.

Literally left his boot in.

Roy Keane vs Alf-Inge Haaland, Premier League 2001. Manchester derby + Roy Keane = lots of pain right? No actually. Well yes, but there’s more to it than that. You see in 1997 Keano did a ligament in during a challenge, and had to seek treatment, stopping the game. Haaland, who was playing against Keane for Leeds, gave Keane a little lip about faking injury to avoid a booking for the challenge. Barring how ridiculously stupid Haaland must’ve been to say this, he got Keane booked as he was stretchered off.

Roy retired to his hospital bed and got his small black book out. In it he simply wrote: ‘Haaland will feel pain’. Three and a half years later he got his revenge:

Chris Morgan vs Iain Hume, Championship 2008. There are tackles that leave people with broken legs and broken careers. These are bad. Then there are tackles that leave people with life-threatening injuries. These are unacceptable. Chris Morgan should no more be playing football than I should be leading a church. He would be too rough (especially on the eyes) to be a doorman in Moss Side.

Anyone who deploys an elbow tackle is such a low form of life. It is cowardly and malicious, some are worse than others, but all are awful. This is the worst of them all: (this is second worse and shouldn’t be forgotten)

Didn’t look as bad as I say? Check out Hume about a year afterwards:

And he walked off the field with that. Not like that pussy Keane...

Martin Taylor vs Eduardo da Silva, Premier League 2008. I remember watching the game where this horrific injury took place. Sky Sports wouldn’t show a replay and the camera wouldn’t focus on Eduardo on the the floor. Cesc Fabregas looked like he was going to throw up on the touch line.

I’ve put a fairly minimalist video on here. Those who want the full fright factor can seek it here. Yeah that bit isn’t meant to be sticking out there at all.

At least Taylor personally apologised to the Croatian. That shows he actually acknowledged doing wrong, unlike…

Harald Schumacher vs Patrick Battiston, World Cup semi final 1982. All joking aside, this ‘tackle’ went so far it should be classified attempted murder.

A zinger of a game between France and West Germany was in play when Michel Platini sent a lovely through ball to Battiston, inciting a sprint race between the defender and the German goalkeeper, Schumacher. The freshly-on Battiston won by a few yards, and dinked one narrowly wide.

Schumacher, who had plenty of time to, didn’t stop. In fact, he angled his body and jumped to cause maximum damage to Battiston.

Battiston lost teeth and suffered damage to his spine, after the game he also went into a coma. As players rushed to the crippled Battiston, Schumacher stood around the six yard box, toying with the ball, waiting for his goal kick as if the Frenchman had dived. Unbelievably, he got the kick. Schumacher conceded no penalty and got away without a card.

You are literally the worst referee that has ever lived

That’s it for our Footballing Halloween Horrors folks, hope you didn’t get too scared or scarred during consumption.

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