Monday, March 5, 2007

Piece of my Heart



There’s a plethora of good, young talent emerging from Africa these days.
Soccernet.com featured some of these in a great article by writer Jon Carter.
Listed are the usual suspects, like African footballer of the year Didier Drogba, Barcelona malcontent Samuel Eto’o and uncrowned African footballer of the year Michael Essien.

Some of their other choices include high-powered Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, formerly backflipping at Inter Milan, now scoring missiles at Newcastle United.
There’s former footballer of the year El Hadji Diouf, the Senegalese Spitter, now plying his trade at Bolton Wanderers. And there’s the tag-team champions of the Carling Cup Final, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, both from the Ivory Coast and Arsenal, respectively.

The continent is rich in ability. Here’s how some of Africa’s best did during the weekend. Remember these names. They’ll be the stars of the 2010 Finals.

- Didier Drogba continues to shine at Chelsea. Fresh from winning the continent’s footballer of the year award, Drogba scored a right-foot volley to hand Chelsea a 2-0 victory at Portsmouth.

- Drogba’s Ivorian team mate Salomon Kalou scored his fourth goal of the season in the game to insure Chelsea’s victory, keeping the Blues in pursuit of Premiership leaders Manchester United.

- South African international Benni McCarthy scored two second-half penalties to give Blackburn Rovers a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers. They were the former Porto striker’s 11th and 12th goals of the season.

- In Spain, Mali international Frederic Kanoute’s club side Sevilla manhandled leaders Barcelona 2-1 to take over leadership of La Liga. Kanoute (pictured right), formerly of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, leads Spain with 18 goals. Samuel Eto’o was only a substitute in the game, coming on late in the second half.

- In France, a penalty by Ivory Coast international Arunda Dindane (pictured below) helped Racing Lens beat Marseille 1-0, leaving second-place Lens 13 points behind leaders Lyon in the French League. The Ligue 1’s Young Player of the Year, Nigerian starlet Taye Taiwo, fouled Dindane to set up the penalty.

- Ivorian Abdul Kader Keite scored two first-half goals to lead Lille to an easy 4-0 victory over lowly Troyes.

In other news, the biennial extravaganza known as the African Cup of Nations is fast approaching.
The Cup is the main international football tournament for African nations, similar to the Copa America in South America or the Euros in Europe. Next year’s competition is to be held in Ghana from January 20 through February 10. The field of 16 nations usually provide a breathtaking tournament, as evidenced by last year’s stunning matches in Egypt, especially the 12-11 penalty shootout won by Ivory Coast over Cameroon, Drogba scoring the winner after Eto’o’s miss. Egypt won its fifth championship at the ’06 Finals in their home country, beating the Ivory Coast in the final 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw.


Qualifying is already underway for ’08 and we’ll have more info on that in the future.
My reason for stating all this is because we’d like to announce exclusively on this website that it’s our intention to attend the 2008 tournament in Ghana next year.

HOORAY!

Please wish us luck, as this is a barometer and sort of a ‘mid-term report’ on how our journey to 2010 is going. More on this dramatic announcement in the weeks and months ahead. But look for us in Ghana, cheering … oh, I don’t know who (!!) … early next year.


And one, small, tiny little note about a certain football match taking place tomorrow somewhere on the Mediterranean coast between two Mediterranean giants.

Ok, we all know what I’m talking about here: Valencia v. Inter Milan, Champions League.

No need for me to dive too much into this one. But I do ask for one favor;

PLEASE WIN VALENCIA! POR FAVOR!!! VAMOS!!!


PLEASE????

That is all.

3 comments:

Wes said...

I think the African teams should use the 2010 African Nations Cup to gel together to have a chance to reach the later stages of the World cup. They players are there, they only need to play together as a team.

Sportingo said...

Greetings,

This is a fantastic concept for the blog and I would like to speak with you about publishing some articles on your journey.

Cheers,
michelle@sportingo.com

Jorge said...

I didn't know they knew how to throw down a couple of fists down in Valencia. haha. See you in the quarterfinals.