Beeb scores with African Cup of Nations coverage

What a breath of fresh air it is to see the BBC turning the clock back to once again offering pioneering sports coverage ahead of its rivals in the form of the African Cup of Nations.

With live games available on the “red button” interactive servce and a comprehensive highlights package on BBC 3, the Beeb have undoubtedly scored a hit over Sky, Setanta and ITV.

I don’t know if it was a case of the others not believing the Cup of Nations to be worthwhile bidding or if Aunty Beeb managed to pull out all the stops and outbid its wealthier rivals, although I would find the latter hard to believe. If the former is true then I this is a huge own goal for Sky and Setanta particularly.

The African Cup of Nations can now boast teams to give the best that Europe and South America has to offer a run for their money and there is no doubt this tournament can be considered a gathering of some of the world’s top players.

On Sunday night I was able to watch host nation Ghana field a team of top players such as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie against Guinea in the opening match. How that matchg finished just 2-1  to the home side I will never know with Ghana putting the visitors under constant pressure and hitting the woodwork on at least two occasions. I understand Muntari’s late winner was worth the licence fee alone – although unfortunately I missed the goal tending to a four-month-old with a rather full nappy. The joys of fatherhood.

Guinea also had their own superstar on show in the form of Pascal Feindouno – who, despite hearing his name crop up on a number of previous occasions, I was watching play for the first time. It is safe to say I was suitably impressed and will be passing a dossier onto Walter Smith with one simple instruction – sign that chap up now.

Monday night saw the clash of the titans when Nigeria took on the Ivory Coast with names such as Obafemi Martins, Nwankwo Kanu, Joseph Yobo, John Utaka, John Obi Mikel and Yakubu Aiyegbeni lining up against Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Didier Zokora, Yaya Toure, Kader Keita, Solomon Kalou and Didier Drogba. A more impressive gathering of footballing gliteratti on one pitch would be difficult to find.

The match finished 1-0 to the “Elephants” of the Ivory Coast and I have to say Nigeria were particularly disappointing – but more on them in a later post.

The Monday afternoon match (UK time) saw Morocco thrash Namibia (who looked to be little more than hatchet men) 5-1 in what I believe equals the best win in the Cup of Nations – although I didn’t watch that one because I was working…………honest.

So, to recap, the first three games of the African Cup of Nations saw 10 goals, numerous chances and some of the world’s best footballing talent on display.

It all makes me wonder why I didn’t tune into Chesterfield v Hereford on Sky Sports instead. Well done to the BBC on a top sports coverage coup.

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