Africa might be poor, but that does not make the motherland less deserving of any respect.
Liverpool’s Joel Matip thought he could play truant by absconding the Cameroon national team duties for no apparent reason. His explanation is that he had resigned from national duties.
According to Fifa rules, he can only play for Liverpool a week after Cameroon is out of the competition. This should serve as a lesson to all African players based in Europe that any disrespect for motherland will be met with swift and stern action.
The Afcon 2017 has been very exciting so far because it is full of surprises. Togo holding Ivory Cost to a goalless draw; Guinea Bissau nearly stealing a victory against Cameroon before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat; and Congo DRC, under the tutelage of seasoned campaigner Claude Re Loy, notching up a surprise victory against Morocco. It shows that no team is guaranteed good results.
Senegal ranked number one in Africa, have lived up to expectations after being the first team to ease into the quarter finals on Thursday after victories against Zimbabwe and Tunisa.
Slowly favourites are emerging. The decline of Algeria though is astonishing. Rewind to Brazil 2014, they were number one in Africa. They came to the last Afcon in 2015 as favourites before they were beaten in semi-finals. But now they have lost their two opening matches. How the mighty have fallen!
And talking of giants on their knees, Real Madrid are going through a tough time at the moment after back to back losses. They lost to Seville last week and then on Wednesday lost again to Celta Vigo in Copa del Ray quarter-final first leg. A loss to Seville means they are two points above Barcelona on 38 while Seville are second on 39. They have a game in hand of course but now any loss means they could surrender top position. What happened to the 40 match unbeaten run?
I would be doing injustice to followers of this column if I don’t mention something on the big match between Manchester City and Tottenham Spurs. I am tipping Man City to win today because they cannot afford to lose again after being humbled by Everton 4-0 last week.
Pep Guardiola came under scrutiny again over his methods after another bad result. Critics are questioning why he has maintained his faith in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who has failed to live up to expectations after Guardiola banished Joe Hart. Out of 22 shots on target this season, Bravo has allowed in 14 goals. Not good enough. But I expect City to win this match. n