Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Honestly, Fellas, It May Be Time To Give Rugby A Try (Arf, Arf!)

Like Paul B, I have spent much of the last few days plonked in front of the telly watching the African Cup Of Nations. A few weeks ago, in my one of my World Cup previews, I stated that we would get a good chance to view some of the African teams during the course of this tournament, and assess whether or not they are remotely capable.

Well, I think we have our answer. Dear God, no. Togo, who I specifically wrote that about, were a shambles, and of the other teams to qualify, only Tunisia seem able to play at even a fair standard. Happily for the biased viewer, but unfortunately for the general quality of the matches this summer, Cameroon, easily the best of the sides lined up in Egypt right now, haven't qualified.

The matches have been dull and tedious. I suppose we're spoiled in Britain by the Premiership, but even so, I was shocked by the complete lack of inventiveness shown. Matches typically consist of passing around the midfield for about ten minutes, then one side breaking free, creating a chance, the forward receiving the ball on the edge of the area, not having the confidence to run forward, leaning back, and putting the shot out of the ground. Repeat.

I have a problem with the BBC's coverage, too. Fair enough, they've put it on BBC4, which is about right, given the poor quality of the product, but they have made some presentational errors. In the case of teams whose strips don't consist of the principle colour of their national flag, there is no guide to which team is which, a real problem in the earlier rounds when most of the names didn't mean anything to me. Far worse, they have also decided that most viewers don't need a clock, so anyone joining part of the way through a game doesn't know whether it's three minutes in or eighty seven. Come on people, these are the basics.

Anyway, I would be deeply, deeply stunned if any of these sides get past the group stages in the summer. Talk of the balance in world football slowly moving towards Africa may eventually prove more than so much hot air, but at the moment any such talk is incredibly precipitate.

Nigeria in the process of beating Ghana - yet another example of a team who failed to qualify impressing more than one who did.

Only seen bits and bobs i'm afraid. When I do, it's the highlights. I wouldn't know good football from a hole in the ground to be honest, going on what I pay cash to watch once a fortnight............
Surely the mighty Thistle aren't that bad? Trust me, they certainly aren't worse than Zimbabwe . . .
Damn the antigravity orbs.
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