Africa football nations seek a pass to round 3 WCQ

September 9, 2013 7:17 pm0 comments by:

ExaminationThe final match of Round 2 for the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers was played last weekend. The hype around the world has been low key compared to previous world cup qualifiers. However, the preparations have been similar with a number of key players recalled for the crucial fixture.

The atmosphere, press releases and squad report remind me of the days leading to a final examination paper. It involved making calls to star pupils for study groups, pestering the lecturers for examination clues and panicking at time constraints.

The big African nations that needed a favourable result to advance to the final Round 3 were in a similar state. For instance, Kwesi Appiah Ghana’s national Coach recalled 3 star players to the squad for the crucial match against Zambia. They include Kevin-Prince Boateng, Michael Essien and Andre Ayew, all three players previously requested to be excluded from the national team to concentrate on their Club form.

Tunisia and Congo were on top of Group B and E respectively but had tough matches to keep their position. Congo was sweating more than Tunisia, as they should have confirmed their place 2 matches ago and blew it. Tunisia confident of a good result considering they beat Cape Verde Islands away and were at home . Nigeria needed a win or at least a draw against Malawi. They called up Shola Amoebi in case, they needed to go direct and could count on a star player in Emmanuel Emenike, to get them the goals.

Ghana was first to sit for their examination against Zambia on 6th September 2013. The Black Stars started well and deserved a one goal lead at half time, courtesy of Majeed Waris. They added to the lead with a goal in the second half from Kwadwo Asamoah, before having to endure a tense moment as they conceded a goal.
Ghana Coach was relieved to get through the paper after a dismal outing in the CAF Cup early this year.

Ethiopia in Group A sat their away examination against Central Africa Republic on Saturday 7th September 2013, They knew a win will guarantee qualification and a draw might be enough to sneak through to Round 3.They did not start well, down one nil at Half Time. It was time to sharpen the pencil, use a different pen or start digging deep in the memory bank for solutions. It took only 3 minutes after half time team talk for Ethiopian defender Saldhin Ahmed, to score the equaliser. This proved the inspiration for the team to push on and on 61st minute Menyahel Teshome scored the winner.

The win for Ethiopia against Central Africa Republic at Brazzville meant South Africa or Botswana could not qualify for Round 3. Nevertheless, South Africa entertained the crowd at Durban with a 4-1 win against Botswana. The match was played at the same time as a Group E decider between Burkina Faso and Gabon.
The two teams boosted by star names such as Jonathan Pitroipia and Pierrie Aubameyang. It was always going to be tougher than a Chemistry Examination, where the result matters more than the method.

Burkina Faso got the result and Gabon missed the pass mark. The evening was heated up, as a number of bigger guns started their matches. It does not get any bigger than at Calabar, where Nigeria played against Malawi. It was a tight affair but one of Nigerian Star performers Emmanuel Emenike showed why Fenebarche paid £13 million for his skills. He scored just before half time and then Victor Moses scored the winner just after half time. It was a perfect time to score goals and keep Malawi in check.

Later on 7th September 2013, another crucial match got played between old big guns Tunisia and new pretenders Cape Verde Islands. You might look at this match as between having to take a preparation examination to get a job. Cape Verde Islands had to show that they were not one hit wonders. They won the match in the first half and deserve the entire accolade. In my view, this was the surprise result of the day or weekend.

It was one of two away wins over the weekend, the other coming between Ethiopia versus Central Africa Republic. The other matches played between 7th September 2013 and on 8th September 2013 did not affect qualification battles but were also important. The match between Cameroon and Libya could have been a tougher match for Cameroon. Libya should have gone into the match needing just a draw but lost that status off the pitch. Cameroon gained the three points that they lost to Togo, because Togo fielded ineligible player.

The Indomitable Lions won the match one nil and thus qualified for Round 3 at the expense of Libya. This match up shows success is achieved on the pitch, if there is unity outside of the pitch. Cameroon has managed to seek out the problems off the pitch that caused them to lose out on qualification on 2013 CAF.

The winners were the nations that had a settled team, less disarray off the pitch and could call up Star players. The losers mainly did not sufficiently prepare for the final match. The surprise qualifiers reap the reward of  the handwork prior to the final fixture.

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