Scandal rocks Africans Nations Cup 2008

26 January 2008 at 08:56 | 3450 views

By Abu B.Shaw, London

Barely a week in Ghana 2008 African Nations Cup competition, the emergence of a football scandal has overshadowed the pomp and pageantry that illuminated the kick off of the continent’s greatest soccer bonanza.

This sad news hit the streets on Thursday January 24, when the coach of first timers Benin Republic claimed that he had been contacted by a strange man who asked him if there is any possibility that he could sell or fix a match. The Benin coach said he was not told which team he is to do this dodgy business with.

Reports say Coach Reinhard Fabisch(photo) was so infuriated that he asked the man to leave his hotel within two minutes or else he will call the police.

The Benin coach is reported to have instructed his players to be vigilant and asked them to inform him instantly if anyone of them is approached by this mysterious man.

Meanwhile, Ghana football authorities in conjunction with the Confederation of African Football (CAF),the body mandated to run football affairs in Africa, are believed to be investigating the matter. This development is being closely monitored by FIFA, the world football governing body.

On the pitch, there have been spectacular performances in the opening games with some highs and lows. Host Ghana won their opening match 2-1 in a scintillating encounter with Syli Nationale of Guinea last Sunday January 20.

Portsmouth’s Ghanaian midfielder Sullay Muntari stole the show netting the winner in the last minute in front of the sellout crowd of 45,000 from a 30 yards thunderbolt. Italy based Asmoah Gyan scored the first goal from a penalty triggered by Guinea’s defender Oumar Kalabane. Guinea’s captain Pascal Feindouno, who plays for French side St. Etienne, was a delight to watch with his mesmerising skills. Also in Group A, Namibia held Morocco 1-1.

Syli Nationale rediscovered their winning boot when they smashed Morocco 3-2 with two goals coming from captain Feindouno but he was later red-carded.

In Group B, Nigeria’s Super Eagles lost to the Elephants of Ivory Coast 0-1 through Chelsea’s striker Salomon Kalou. Mali beat Benin 1-0, a surprise of the week.

In Group C, cup holders Egypt destroyed Cameroon 4-2 and Zambia’s Copper Bullets demolished Sudan 3-0.

In Group D, Tunisia held Senegal 2-2 and South Africa v Angola ended 1-1.

Next fixtures: Group A, (Jan 28 Ghana v Morocco, Jan 28 Guinea v Namibia); Group B, (Jan 29 Nigeria v Benin, Jan 29 Ivory Coast v Mali); Group C, (Jan 30 Cameroon v Sudan, Jan 30 Egypt v Zambia); Group D, (Jan 27 Tunisia v Angola, Jan 27, Tunisia v South Africa, Jan 31 Senegal v South Africa, Jan 31 Tunisia v Angola).