Africa’s premier football competition for national teams is truly in its stride. After a slow and dull start (the game between hosts, South Africa and Cape Verde was the nearest thing to sleep therapy) the event has come to life with some pulsating match-ups and equally stunning outcomes.
For instance, not many people would have put their money on Ethiopia taking points off the defending champions, Zambia – and with 10 men – or Ghana conspiring to throw away a two-goal lead against Congo DR.
And what about our dear own Super Eagles? What happened on Monday night was much tougher to take than what happened at USA’94 when just 120 seconds separated Nigeria and a famous victory over eventual World Cup finalists, Italy.
In this case in South Africa, they had only needed to hold out for less than 30 seconds when disaster struck - Alain Traore sliding home to deny the Eagles three points and a dream start to the competition.
Had the players recalled USA’94 perhaps they would not have made the same blunder and ensured that they took a grip of Group C as leaders after Zambia and Ethiopia had played a 1-1 draw in the first match.
Like I said last weekend in my piece titled: ‘SA 2013: Crunch Time for Stephen Keshi’, where I pointed out that it is very easy to criticise from the outside stressing that coaching is a very difficult job.
Our position would have been even more critical if we had lost; but the fact that we’re still on level terms with the rest of the teams in the group means we have to re-double our efforts.
Finally, I had a heated argument with a friend over the failure of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to get the rights to the Nations Cup.
While he (my friend) tried to put up a convincing argument supporting BON’s position, I still wondered if our love for last-minute decision-making hadn’t caught up with us at last!
We are privy to what usually happens as regards labour issues to use as an example. Labour will go public with an ultimatum to government and nothing normally happens until the deadline is virtually on us.
We all knew long ago that the 29th edition of the Nations Cup would be taking place in South Africa at this time, so what efforts did we (BON) do to tie up the deal on time?
After all, we are all watching the competition in our respective homes and viewing centres and the cable company providing the service had been advertising weeks before the tournament kicked off that they would be showing it!
I also fault the argument that money was the major stumbling block. Please, don’t get me wrong it might be on the high side but it is well within the rights of the rights owners to charge whatever they want, the onus is on the buyer to either beat the price down or leave it if he feels it’s not worth his while.
Have we quickly forgotten how an indigenous cable outfit secured the rights to the English Premier League by offering some unbelievable amount for the rights?
Of course, the EPL did not tell the company that they had been doing business with in the past that because of their previous dealings they would reject the Nigerian offer.
No, the EPL immediately dumped the South African outfit for the more profitable Nigerian venture. And when the Nigerian ventured flopped what happened was that they offered the rights to their previous friends. Business is business there are no friends or foes.
Hopefully, we have learnt our lesson and rather than recriminating over what went wrong for SA 2013, we should prepare much better to secure the rights for the next edition of the tournament taking place in Morocco in two years time.
In the meantime, with or without BON (I’m sure even BON members themselves) we’re all catching our AFCON 2013 fun.