AFCON: Stars and flops

Ethiopian Fans
Ethiopian Fans (Photo: Courtesy of Goal.com)

By Fred Kaweesi in Johannesburg

THE 2013 Orange Nations Cup, whose curtains came down on Sunday evening at the National Stadium here, had a cocktail of just about everything.

Over the course of the tournament, there were players, managers, referees and fans that stood out for both the right and wrongs reasons.

Below, I present a list of those that excelled in the three-week tournament and those that decided to make a ‘fool’ of themselves in Africa’s most prestigious sporting event.

The Stars

Ethiopian fans

These had two sides here –the good and bad, but we’ll look at the good first.

The passion that was displayed by the Ethiopians throughout the tournament was remarkable.

But one moment stood out. I experienced something I never thought I’d ever see. It was not just about them and their team. When the Ethiopians noticed that Burkina Faso fans had been outnumbered by the Nigerians in the following game, they joined in numbers, supported the Stallions and it paid off with a late equalizer.

Nothing remarkable there, you might think. But here’s the thing: they were singing along with the Burkina Faso fans, linking arms, as everyone piled together in a huge group hug. They were different cultures. It was an image that I’ll keep with me for a long time to come.

Flops

We’ll start with the Ethiopians. Remember they brought a lot of colour to the tournament. They had beautiful women and they added to the festive atmosphere as they packed the stadiums whenever their team played.

But their missile-throwing behavior while protesting decisions that often went against them during their 1-1 draw against Zambia was uncalled for. They were consequently fined $10,000 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

emal Tassew Kung Fu
emal Tassew Kung Fu

Ethiopia’s Kung-fu masters

Another disciplinary situation that had to be dealt with involved Ethiopia’s two goalkeepers.

With the exception of 20-year-old Zerihun Tadelle, the other Ethiopian goalkeepers Jemal Tassew and Sisay Bancha lacked discipline.

It all begun with a dangerous kung-fu style lunge on Zambia Chisamba Lungu that saw Tassew red-carded in the first game.

Then in their last group match against Nigeria, Bancha was shown red for a second bookable offence after coach Sawnet Bishaw had made all his three substitutions.

It resulted in one of their key midfielders Addis Hintsa having to take over the gloves.

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