The Unending Feud Between Egypt and Algeria
The feud between host Egypt and Algeria is deeper than what many non-Arabs here can imagine. Egypt may have been eliminated from the tournament but most fans here still have one wish that the Desert Foxes of Algeria must not win the trophy on Egyptian soil. It’s an abomination so to say. At the media tour of The Pyramids yesterday morning, the important event was almost marred by deep hatred between the two Arab countries when a group of Algerian journalists insisted on displaying their country’s flag during the group photograph. They were accosted but the seven-man Algerian media men refused to back down and not even the intervention of security personnel would intimidate them. They are united by religion but divided politically!
WAFU Reps Down to Four in Q’final
West African countries have been having a good show at the tournament and as many as seven countries from the region reached the second round phase. Aside Mali who were eliminated by fellow West African, Côte d’ Ivoire, Black Stars of Ghana were shown the exit door by Tunisia in a painful shoot out, while Algeria, one of the favourite to win the cup comprehensively defeated Guinea to reach the last eight and left the region with only Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’ Ivoire and Benin Republic.
First Scoring Teams Dominate KO Phase
The round of 16 matches may have produced some interesting results especially the elimination of Morocco by Republic of Benin, South Africa’s shock win over host Egypt and Madagascar’s fairy tale continues with Congo Democratic Republic as their latest foe. It is interesting to note that all the countries that scored first ended up as the winning team. Let’s see whether these teams will hold sway again when the quarter-final matches get underway from this afternoon.
Nigeria, South Africa Rivalry Blooming
An interesting dimension was added to the parings for the next phase of the tournament when fate pits Nigeria to face South Africa as against widely speculated clash with Egypt. When the match gets underway at the 75,000 capacity Cairo International stadium, it will be the only tie that has produced previous encounter during the qualification stage of the tournament. Sadly, South Africa shocked Nigeria 2-0 in Uyo in the opening qualifying round of matches but Eagles were forced to a 1-1 scoreline to qualify for AFCON 2019 and top the group with a game in hand. Another rivalry blooming for Eagles outside Cameroon and Ghana!