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Real football not another modelling session please


I wish I could say, “Like sand through the hour glass so are the days to the Afcon.” With this being a football extravaganza allow me to say, “Like Jabulani through Robert Green’s hands, so are the days to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.”

This Afcon might be without the drums and colourful body paints that characterise the Nigerian supporters and the vuvuzelas and colourful outfits that South Africans bring to the stadiums but I am not shy to raise my hand and say I am looking forward to a tight contest rather than the “modelling session” that we witnessed in the 2010 showpiece hosted by Angola.

I call the Angola tourney a “modelling session” because I watched with dismay as players flaunted their stylish, pink soccer boots and their fancy over-gelled hairstyles instead of the slick football skills that define African football. It was even appalling to watch that robot soccer with no flair, pace, precision or power drives. I hope this year will be different.

What happened to the romance that characterised African football, that connection our players had with ball which saw them do anything with it except making it talk? I miss the days we used to laugh and celebrate the whole game not just when a goal was scored; the days of the Doctor Khumalos and Jay Jay Okochas of this continent.

Save for Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan, what happened to those proudly African rhythmic dance moves that players do when they score goals?

The qualifiers to this year’s event have been dramatic and, if they are anything to go by, we are definitely going to get a first-class treat of football, which arouses the enzymes and whets one’s appetite for the next game.

There are number of new kids on the block, which means fresh ideas and a fresh display, hopefully. If Botswana continue their David and Goliath story of slaying giants, what more can we ask for?

Niger – oooh my word, that name is taboo in Egypt and South African soccer circles. Having competed with the best on paper and having come out best on the green surface, they are no doubt out to compete, not as pushovers but as title challengers.

Libya, despite the political turmoil back home, still kept their focus to bag a ticket to the Gabon and Equatorial Guinea finals. If they can keep that up we will definitely be running home to watch the beauty of the beautiful game.

Above all, looking forward to seeing Demba Ba in action on African soil, he has been a revelation this season in the English Premiership; scoring goals like they are going out of fashion. Hopefully he will carry that spirit, even in Senegal colours.

The Ayew twins, Dede and Jodan, are Ghana’s shining prospects, who have been on song in France’s League 1 side, Marseille. Should they carry that form to the Afcon finals then Ghana could test the continental cup glory that has eluded them for the past three decades.

With many talking about Didier Drogba, Gervinho and Yaya Toure as the players to watch in the flamboyant Ivory Coast team, I would beg to differ and say watch out for Seydou Doumbia. Voted Russia's Player of the Year, Doumbia is my bet for the top scorer’s award. His toughest challenge could be Demba Ba.

Let the curtain fall, I am ready to watch African football. Are you?


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