Many of my African friends – well, those not dealing with more serious issues – are obsessed with the Africa’s Cup of Nations, currently unfolding throughout Ghana. It’s not been a tournament without controversy – predictable complaints over ticketing and officiating and grousing about the conditions of hotels (there just aren’t that many five-star hotels in Tamale, guys…) But it’s also been good, high-scoring football so far, with success for most of the continent’s powerhouses – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon – making it through to the quarter-finals.
The first quarterfinal is Sunday night and it’s likely to be a thriller – Ghana versus Nigeria. The Nigerian team is always dangerous, but they didn’t look good in the first rounds and snuck in only on goal differential. Ghana dominated its group with three wins, but didn’t look terrific until the final match, trouncing Morocco 2-0. Basically, Ghana has amazing midfielders, but has a lot of trouble putting the ball in the net – here’s hoping they overcome that known bug Sunday night.
Speaking of known bugs… Moroccan fans weren’t at all happy with Ghana’s victory over their team on Monday, and blame the result on poor officiating. Some fans have responded by hacking the GhanaCAN 2008 website, disabling all functionality for most users. The damage has been partially repaired, but clicking on some of the links from the main page will take you to a defaced page, pictured above.
You Moroccan fans are a real class act. Pity you can’t win one on the field. But I guess web hacking beats street hooliganism.
Most fans seem to be having better luck than the Moroccans. JoyFM reports that “It is anticipated that there would be an increase in sexual activity during the period of Ghana 2008” and that condom sales are sharply up throughout the country, despite the distribution of 1.5 million free condoms to sex workers.
I predict those sales figures will trend even higher if Ghana is successful Sunday night. As the Germans are now discovering, hosting a soccer championship can have some interesting side effects.