Starting on the wrong footing, Africa's first major sporting milestone this year has seen some interest from football enthusiasts across the continent. Of course we can't rule out the critics such as Hull City's Phil Brown who even started criticizing the 2010 World Cup while he can't place where some countries are at on the African map.
True the tournament's seen its share of mis-steps again due to the fragile nature of Angola's infrastructure and security arrangements. But as they say, this is Africa ! (my fairy tale one though!)
Getting into the games proper, we were treated to a goal fest in the opening match and though the underdogs seemed to have stepped up their game, the usual suspects are quickly getting back the order of things. Thursday's games shall see the final 2 teams qualify for the quarter-finals.
The main concern though has been the poor show by the continent's World Cup representatives with 1 nation on the verge of elimination - Cameroon unless they win against Tunisia today. Another concern, is there seems to be less talent coming from the other country's - maybe they are getting warmed up for the quarters & semis but from what we've seen, we don't have as much world-beaters as we portend.
Crowds watching the games- South Africa should be taking notes. During the Angola - Algeria game, there were parts of the upper stadium that were almost empty. Serious concerns if you are to make any revenues from the ticketing.
Ad campaigns and sponsorships - some of the major apparel companies seem to have shunned the continent leaving Puma to hold forte in almost all the top teams. Maybe it's a lack of confidence in the teams' abilities or Puma has offered lucrative deals. Only Nigeria's wearing another company's outfit. Still on this, the media campaigns have the usual African colourful works but don't quite inspire (me) into thinking Pan-African.
All in all, the next one week will see out the finals of this tournament which FIFA & CAF ought to seriously think about. The 2-year cycle's too monotonous and maybe that's why it can't attract major sponsors. It also destabilises clubs not just in the African leagues but also the European ones -where some of the managers have made quite a critique as well. It will also help host nation's prepare and avoid fiascos of building fancy stadiums only for these to remain empty and decrepit on the tournaments' ending.
Keep watching your favourite team though and may the best Kings of Africa win !
For your reading pleasure, check this too, soccer wars !