Fair Play Please! [opinion]

The ongoing 30th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations competition in Equatorial Guinea enters the fourth day of play today with matches in Group D. This will be the end of the first day of play for each team in the four pools in which the competing nations are grouped. Thus far, the games have been, to say the least, competitive producing the spectacle needed from the continent’s best football powerhouses.

The three-week tourney (January 17 to February 8) groups 16 teams from 16 countries with different strategies all with one ambition – The coveted trophy with the prestige and financial gains it brings. Reason why different technicians have been employing different tactical strategies and moral rearmaments for their teams to outsmart opponents and wear the crown.

And as day two of the group matches begin tomorrow Wednesday, teams that got interesting take off will be striving to win and qualify automatically for round two even before the last group games. This will not be the case with those that recorded faux-pas as they would be striving to win and rekindle hopes of sailing through. Diverse ambitions indeed for a common goal! This is understood anyway given the rigorous nature in which the teams qualified for the competition that holds once in two years.

But it must be said here and now that irrespective of the ambitions, not all the teams can win at the same time. In football, like any other sport, there must be a victor and a victim, call it vanquish. This is certainly what no sportsman or woman or group like the competing teams in Equatorial Guinea would want to hear. In the midst of these, teams and players want to win at all cost, sometimes throwig the sportsmanly watch word of fair play to the dogs. Take it or not, at the end of the ongoing first round, eight of the 16 teams must leave the competition. From here, the number will narrow as the competition progresses to the finalists from where one team will emerge to replace current cup holders, Nigeria, as the continent’s number one.

As the teams battle therefore for the sometimes ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trophy, there is an absolute need to stand by the rules of the games for fair play to prevail. After all, it is just a game like any other where many are called but one will be chosen at the end.

It’s only when this spirit of fair play is upheld to the letter that the competition will go beyond kicking the round inflated object from one direction to the other. This is an opportunity for the continent to unify around the king sport and elbow out emerging threats like terrorism and Ebola that are wreaking havoc across the world.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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