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Electric hooliganism at the African Cup of Nations

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.

5 thoughts on “Electric hooliganism at the African Cup of Nations”

  1. I too am rooting for Ghana. The last time they played, Ghana won 4-1. I think Ghana vs. Cote D’Ivoire in the final will be a great game.

    Did you hear that the South African goalie claimed the balls were altered somehow to make it harder for goalies to make saves?

  2. Ghana v. Cote d’Ivoire would make me really, really happy. I think Ivory Coast will go all the way – they’re big, talented and work together incredibly well. I read somewhere that 10 of their starting 11 played together in a training school as youths – it shows in their amazing team play.

  3. I assume you are referring to ASEC Mimosas, no? This is indeed the biggest feeder for top-quality Iviorian footballers, but it isn’t accurate to say that “10 of their starting 11” played there *together*.
    (And Drogba for one never played there at all, nor did Yaya.)

  4. Mike, I’m likely misquoting – I believe I’m referencing IHT’s coverage of the tournament, which suggested that 10 of 11 of CdI’s side had played together since high school… which sounded impossible, and which I intepreted as meaning they’d trained together at the same time. But the idea that they’d all trained at the same school at different times makes much better sense…

    One way or another, I’m very glad that the road to the finals doesn’t immediately pass through CdI for Ghana – they looked pretty unbeatable against Guinea.

  5. Countering the population growth that comes after exciting games is this report from German researchers after the last World Cup that pulsating matches increase the number of heart attacks, more for men than women but still some of both.

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