Black Excellence: The Classic AFCON Final

5 mins read

What a game the AFCON final between Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire was on Sunday as the world of football watched the amazing game and stadium packed to the roofs. I was watching the game with my family and our friends and at first it was like Côte d’Ivoire had it all going for them.

Côte d’Ivoire attackers like Kessie and Haller were going for the goal and it was just around the corner. Then me I get mad with Kessie and I tell the crew that he is running too much with the ball without passing and either he gets fouled or loses the ball. My son who knows more about football than me asked me to look and tell him who Kessie would pass the ball to because there was nobody running in front.

So I calmed down and I was making food for the crew in the kitchen when they called me to run to watch what just happened.

That Nigerian defender the captain of the team, William Troost-Ekong had just scored a fantastic goal with another one of his crazy headers like the one he scored against South Africa to take Nigeria to the AFCON finals.

I was not happy because I was going with Côte d’Ivoire, so I just said I will go back to the kitchen and make food for these mad football fans. They said I was chicken because I didn’t want to see Nigeria kicking ass. I told them I was in the kitchen but I can hear everything.

Then boom. Franck Kessie bombs in with a header to level the score at 1-1. Game on.

And it was rough and tumble into the second half. Sabastian Haller the striker from Côte d’Ivoire playing for Borussia Dortmund and has just recovered from cancer to be able to play football once again had some amazing overhead kicks that just missed the net by inches. I was dancing already and I had supporters as well as opposition from the fans in the house.

The game went on very tense because each team was looking for that winning goal. Nigeria was also now in full attack mode instead of their defensive formations before.

Then it happened and it was Sabastian Haller again at the heart of it. I thought he touched the ball with his foot and it was his goal. Others said no Haller did not touch the ball and it just went off the Nigeria defender.

Some of my enemies even suggested that it was a handball by the Nigerian defender and should be a penalty not a goal. Whatever. You see how winning is hard but Côte d’Ivoire won this hands down and imagine where they came from in this tournament, in their own home country.

Côte d’Ivoire was just about kicked out in the first rounds losing every game and they fired their coach and hired this new young coach and he is a proud man today and so is his team and country. It is great to see African teams winning with African coaches. Aliou Cisse did it with Senegal in 2020/1 AFCON finals.

Coach Emerse Fae at work in the finals of AFCON

And then it was just nice to see one of my favourite football players of all time Didier Drogba breaking into a dance as his team won the AFCON Championship Cup in his motherland. Can’t be nicer than that.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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