Sunday, January 10, 2010

We're not going to turn the blog over to days of endless coverage on the African Nations Cup, but we just had to do another post about tournament after today's opening match.

The tournament has begun still tinged with the sadness surrounding the Togo team (who decided not to stay after all and flew back home), but thankfully matters can now be focussed with events on the pitch and hopefully no further terror incidents off it.

With such despondency abounding, what the tournament really needed was to get off to a flying start with a match to remember and have football fans around the world talking about the African Nations Cup for all the right reasons.

The CAF couldn't have asked for more than the cracker served up by hosts Angola and Mali.

It wasn't looking that way for most of the match. By 79 minutes and the hosts four goals to the good, it had a rather unfair blow out written all over it. Unfair due to the fact that Mali had played well despite what the scoreline suggested.

The final 11 minutes and 4 of stoppage time saw probably the best comeback and turnaround I have seen in a match. Even better than Liverpool's Champions League heroics in 2005 against AC Milan, but perhaps with less at stake.

Mali stunned Angola with a four goal comeback, two of them in injury time, to see the game end 4-4 and you can almost be certain that just one extra minute of play would have seen the Malians complete an amazing victory. That's how bad the Angolans collapse was.

It was tremendous, never say die spirited fightback from Mali that gives hope to fans the world over that it's never over till it is over!

My wife found it funny as I got more and more excited watching the game. She doesn't get football at the best of times, but me getting all worked up over an African game really puzzles her!

When Mali drew it back to 4-3 I'd shouted through to her about what a comeback I was watching and when they tied it seconds later, she was in hysterics at my excited scream of "oooooohhhhhh they've done it".

It's weird how a game between two teams you care little about can get you so worked up. That's football though. That's why I love it and if the African Nations Cup can serve up some more action like this on a daily basis, it's going to be a great January!

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