Top Headlines Across Africa
Making the front pages is the unceremonious exit of AFCON defending champions, Ivory Coast.
A goal from France-based second division player, Rachid Alioui, took out the Elephants who were this time without Yaya, Kolo, and Gervinho but were still tipped to reach at least the semis.
Players’ performance faced criticism but coach Michel Dussuyer will be the man most affected by the result, with his job now on the line.
A resignation, many believe, will be the most appropriate thing for the 57-year-old tactician with the Ivorian Football Federation already lining up a replacement for the French-born.
In a related story, Ivory Coast’s early AFCON exit has left English club fans in delight. Ivory Coast took five England-based players, all of whom play a key role for their clubs and the fans will be delighted to hear news of their players’ possible early return.
Across the continent, there are itching nerves over Issa Hayatou’s announcement to run again for CAF presidency – a portfolio he occupied the last twenty-nine years. Age is quite telling on the Cameroonian and former professor.
Spending more than a decade in a given set up sparks talk of dictatorship but Hayatou is not fazed in the face of delegates’ longing for a fresh face, to head the continent’s football governing body.
Individuals who ran against the current CAF president in previous elections have woeful tales of ramification, but Madagascar’s Ahmed Ahmed is not one to be perturbed.
How this race will play out will make for an interesting read in the CAF congress.
Over to East Africa, CAF’s patience is running low over Kenya’s ability to host the CHAN 2018. Kenya won rights to stage the tourney but the snail-pace progress in preparation for the games has CAF pondering a waiver over Kenya’s hosting rights.
CAF’s secretary general, Hicham El Amrani, wrote to Kenya Football Federation yesterday demanding another stadium inspection and in the same communication, requested the East African Nation’s Sports Ministry to forward detailed evidence of expenses made in the reconstruction of venues.
Kenya has until February 3rd to meet all requirements or run the risk of being stripped of hosting rights. Ethiopia is touted as a possible replacement should CAF act on its warning.
Chelsea’s on-loan left-back Baba Rahman is the man fronting the back pages in Ghana after sustaining a career-threatening injury. Rahman picked up the injury in Ghana’s opening AFCON games and is on the brink of spending seven months on the sidelines.
Given players are in most cases paid 50 percent of the salary if they go for three months without playing for their clubs, Ghana’s FA is considering compensating the Back Star player as a good gesture.
Still, with Ghana, forward Asamoah Gyan this week entered the history books for being the second player to score in six (6) Africa Cup of Nations tournaments after Samuel Eto’o.
Gyan had a dry spell in 18 months prior to last Saturday’s historical goal against Mali since his last goal for the Black Stars in June 14th, 2015.
The 31-year-old has also scored against Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Niger, and Algeria. Gyan is just a goal shy of hitting 50 goals for his nation.
The West African nation’s all-time top goalscorer netted his first AFCON goal in January 2008, against Guinea.
Elsewhere, a committee has been set up to investigate Algeria’s abysmal AFCON campaign which saw the Desert Foxes exit the ongoing Gabon tourney in the group stages.
Algeria’s elimination was greeted with much shock having been initially tipped championship favorites. The North African’s federal bureau of football is set to discuss the Desert Foxes’ underwhelming run.
In Nigeria, Chippa United net-minder, Daniel Akpeyi, has debunked reports in his homeland that he signed a revised contract with the South African top tier side.
Akpeyi who won bronze with the Nigerian Olympic Team has been touted to pen an extended contract but reports quickly made the rounds in Lagos claiming that he had already signed.
Featured photo: Defending champions, Ivory Coast, was disappointingly eliminated in the group stages after only securing a draw. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)