The 2010 African Cup of Nations will not live long in the memory, except perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Most of all the attack on the Togo team bus before the tournament had even began, in which three people died and many more were injured. The terrible situation was also compounded by the way in which it was dealt with by all concerned. Firstly the Confederation of African Football rejected the Togo team’s request to rejoin the tournament and then changed their minds again. Meanwhile the team made clear that it wanted to continue but the Government of Togo wouldn't allow them to, resulting in a ban from the 2012 and 2014 A.C.N. tournament because of government interference in sport, according to the ACN.
How utterly confusing!
In many respects the competition was poor by it's own standards. Many stadiums were half empty contributing to a dismal atmosphere. While there were some outstanding games, the overall standard was not as great as had been anticipated before the tournament began.
The competition concluded on Sunday and the winners were Egypt, earning their third title in a row by beating Ghana 1-0 with a goal from 'super-sub' Mohamed 'Gedo' Nagy.
Gold Medal – Egypt
Silver Medal – Ghana
Bronze Medal – Nigeria.
So congratulations to Egypt, but it is a shame that the winners of the A.C.N will not be going to the World Cup 2010, as they did not qualify. Runners Up Ghana go home disappointed again, but there can only be one winner.
High expectations had been put upon Nigeria, but they had to be content with the bronze medal.
Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins talked to the Guardian in Lagos, and blamed the pressure put on the side for the Super Eagles falling short of their target again.
"I just want to make it clear to Nigerians that we tried our best being among the best playing nations in Africa and at the end Egypt won the championship. We went there even before going with pressure from all quarters for us to win the cup. I think this brought lot of pressure on the team. But they did not realise that we have to play first before talking of winning the trophy. Or at least get to the final and win.
"I think this gave us lots of problems in Angola. We were the ones playing the ball and we just need to focus before talking about the trophy. After winning bronze in Angola and the next thing people are talking about is winning the World Cup and I think if we are going with this approach we are not going to go far because if they put this pressure on us all the time, it is going to be difficult for us because what everybody cares about is winning the cup and it is the players that bear the grunt at the end of the day. This will indeed affect the team in any competition.
He also spared some of the blame for the coaches.
"I think Osaze Odewimgie's comments on the obvious tactical deficiency of technical crew is right. At the same time, the regular changing of coaches and players has made it impossible for us to know ourselves very well in the team because there were lots of players in the team that we have not being playing together with in the past.
I think compare to the Egyptians that have been together really showed the power of unity in a team. We also have the problems of attending lots of meetings in camp and this most times bored us."