BBC Home
Explore the BBC
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 18:15 GMT
Cup of Nations - as it happened
Morocco 5-1 Namibia

Nigeria 0-1 Ivory Coast

Mali 1-0 Benin


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on +447786 202008. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Whyatt

2155: The chat on the 606 forum and texts is all about Nigeria's shortcomings today and their next match - against Mali - is surely do-or-die in Group B. Meanwhile, the chat in my head is all about catching some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs in bed.

But we did it folks. We stumbled over the finishing line and witnessed a six-goal thriller, a jinking blur of a wonder-goal from Saloman Kalou, and a stadium blackout along the way.

Bring on day three of ACON. Ciao.

2145: "It's not all doom and gloom for Nigeria...that team has the bouncebackability factor in them...fair play to Ivory Coast they were good today."
spikey4ril on 606

Doubts surround the award of that winning penalty and Mali were fairly poor against a Benin side who were advertising for players via the internet roughly two months ago.

But the Eagles will warmly cradle those three points tonight like a new-born baby.

2135: Mali are playing keep-ball and it's all about the three points. For the very first time in this mammoth day of action, the trumpets are fading.

2130: To save time, many users on 606 are using the acronym ACON to describe this enchanting tournament. Which reminds me.

You may or may not know this, but Mali's midfield enforcer is a big fan of Senegalese singer AKON. Random but true. You can discover more musical nuggets right here.

2125: When this tournament reaches the knockout stages it's going to explode. It's fairly tame stuff right now, as Mali try to ground out a win, but the teams won't be afforded that luxury in the last eight.

I spoke too soon. Benin cause panic in Mali's penalty area as shots rain in on the Mahamadou Sidibe's goal. Desperate defending from the Eagles.

2120: "Why are so many of the African countries flags green, yellow & red? Will the ref get a green card to supplement his red & yellow ones too?"
Thomas in Copenhagen on the text: +447786 202008

2116: Paul Simon is the songsmith behind 'You Can Call Me Al', which the band pumped out so wonderfully as the second half got underway (see 2047).

What tune would you like to see them replicate at the Africa Cup of Nations?

Amadou Sidibe scampers down the left wing but his high cross is hoisted too long. Mahamadou Diarra shoots on-taget but easily saved.

2113: Benin captain Seidath Tchomogo troops off to be replaced by Abou Maiga.

2110: "Where is commitment from our Nigerian players when a player of Drogba's status simply made it known live on British television that his country (war-torn for that matter) is more important than Chelsea."
femogiga on 606

The Nigerian inquest is ablaze on our 606 forum.

2106: Rampaging run through the middle from Amadou Sidibe but Benin halt the Mali giant.

2102: Breaking off from the match for a tick, former Nigeria striker Daniel Amokachi has been speaking to the BBC World Service's Farayi Mungazi in Ghana this afternoon and he has some controversial views.

Amokachi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, reckons that some European-based African players do not match their club form whilst playing for their countries.

2056: Seidath Tchomogo breaks down the right for Benin and sends in a dangerous cross. The Squirrels are not taking this lying down.

A study in concentration. The Seville forward's shimmy sends Rachad Chitou the wrong way and he blasts the penalty into the gaping net.

Alain Gaspoz brings down Dramane Traore. Referee. Points. Spot. Fredi Kanoute takes a run-up...

2047: The second-half is underway in Sekondi as the brass band pump out 'You Can Call Me Al' on their prolific trumpets.

2046: The money pumped into African football needs to be invested with care. That seems to sum up the debate from Sunday Oliseh and our panel, which I you enjoyed. More of the same on Tuesday night.


2025: Mali's Bassana Toure is wearing one of those airstrips on his nose, just like Robbie Fowler did back in the day.

Do they really help improve your performance? It's the smallest details that count, so they say.

2020: Strong as an ox, Souleymane Dembele stomps down the wing but his cross is pounded clear by Benin's defence. Mali are starting to press forward with intent.

2016: Who is Mali's David Beckham? I'm not talking about a fancy haircut nor a global multi-billion dollar marketing empire. I'm looking for a free-kick expert. Benin are conceding shed-loads but Mali continue to smash them into the Squirrel's wall.

2012: "Haha haha. A power cut!! Honestly, this tournament is supposed to put Africa in a good light (pun intended)."
Amro, an Egyptian living in Bath, on the text

2008: But some of Benin's tackles are as bad as my puns. Fredi Kanoute is upended but Mali waste another free-kick.

Then a real scare. Benin scramble away after Mali work the ball towards their goal-line. Thought the ball has gone out of play there. Liberal linemanship.

2005: "With my limited knowledge of African football, today i m going to support the team with the best nickname! Come on The Squirells!"
Matt Smith in Loughborough on the text

They're on the attack and their tails are up Matt.

2002: Thank the lord you don't need an electrical current to play a trumpet. Non-stop brass action from the bands in the stands as Benin and Mali scrap for possession.

1959: Could be 1-1. Fredi Kanoute swings his foot into a hugely painful area of one of Benin's rearguard but as he misses the ball it breaks clear to Seydou Keita who hammers just wide. Benin's Seidath Tchomongo then heads just over Mali's crossbar.

1954: Looks like the lights going out might have put a slight dampener on the game's opening prospects. But Mali are making headway with some dangerous crosses.

1948: TEAM NEWS - No place for Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko in the Malian starting line-up. Freddie Kanoute and Mahamadou Diarra are playing as does Dramane Traore.

Benin's captain Romauld Bocco, who plays for Accrington Stanley in England, is also in the mixer early on. Who are Accrington Stanley, I hear you ask? Exactleee.

1945: And after a short delay, the game is underway.

1943: Don't worry folks, we're back on. The lights are working and we're about to start.

1937: "Some-one put 50p in the meter."
MikeNeatPFC on 606

1933: Will this be the first ever professional football match played under moonlight? I think not.

As powerful long-range TV cameras pan towards a beautiful full moon, nearly picking up Neil Armstrong's eternal footprints, back down on earth upon Sekondi soil the bemused players don't know what to do with themselves.

1930: We do now have light in some parts of the stadium but the main floodlights are not working. If you squint your eyes hard enough, you can see Benin's goalkeeper doing a comical warm-up. That man's a professional.

Somewhere in the bowels of the stadium, panicked individuals are searching for the switch.

1929: Back to the less surreal environs of Africa Cup of Nations football. Sekondi's bowl-like stadium is bathed in a new set of colours as the players emotionally draw their fists to their hearts to blast our their national anthems.

Kick-off is seconds way - but now it's pitch black! A power cut. Disaster.

1921: Evocative nicknames are par for course in the wacky world of African football. Getting ready to enter the field of play in Sekondi now are Fredi Kanoute's Eagles against the Squirrels of Benin.

Whether Dr Dolittle refereed or not, that's no contest. Saying that, when squirrels get together in gangs they can look pretty mean.

1919: "The Nigerian squad selection was all wrong from the start. Its all down to favouritism. Kanu, Utaka, Apam and few others shouldn't be in the first line-up. Some of this players are what I call super-subs e.g. Kanu." Gunzchamp on 606

1909: Mali take on Benin in Sekondi in the next instalment of our day two marathon. Feeling tired? C'mon, wipe that brow and let's push on forward for the final game.

Fredi Kanoute, Momo Sissoko, and Mahamadou Diarra. Plus Romauld Boco. How can you resist?

1901: Another pulsating chapter in the Africa Cup of Nations unfolds. The quality you might expect from these two Premier League-heavy teams wasn't always evident, but the moment that decided the match was world-class.

And so the Chelsea forward makes the difference in a tight game. Tremendous goal and the Ivory Coast definitely finished the stronger.

1852: The Super Eagles waste a free-kick 40 yards out and Ivory Coast counter-attack incisively. Saloman Kalou fires just wide.

1850: Saloman Kalou wins a corner which Ivory Coast knock casually along the sidelines in a bid to waste a little time. Nigeria win possession and push upfield...

1848: Over 130 million people populate Nigeria and they'll might be disappointed with their team's languid efforts right now. Where's the pressure?

Hang on. Yakubu shoots low. That's more like it.

1845: Don't know the average ages of the teams, but the Elephants look younger and fresher then the Super Eagles. Their coach, Berti Vogts, cuts a forlorn figure on the sidelines and they look no closer to an equaliser.

1842: Entrenched deep within the stands, naturally, the brass bands in Sekondi are sensational. Would love to get some of this music on the old MP3 player. Uplifting.

1840: It would be remiss not to mention Didier Drogba contribution to this match. As you may have figured, it's not been much.

But the Ivory Coast captain is returning from injury and, as he hoarsely rallies the Elephants section of the crowd, his contribution as a leader becomes obvious.

1838: Obafemi Martins is hauled off as Ivory Coast substitute Kader Keita goes close with a low effort. Just off target.

1834: Taye Taiwo pumps a long-throw into the heart of Ivory Coast's penalty area but Kolo Toure clears with characteristic efficiency. Nigeria need to find some urgency.

1830: Nigeria search for an equaliser but Ivory Coast are in the ascendency. Possession is all theirs as they slow down the pace and play keep-ball. I think Jose Mourinho called this 'resting with the ball'.

1825: "The ball stuck to his foot as if it was there because of a magnetic field."
BBC Sport commentator Simon Brotherton in Sekondi

Picking up a loose ball outside the penalty area, Saloman Kalou slaloms through four Nigerian defenders and fires low past Austine Ejide. Superb skill and balance from the Chelsea forward.

1820: Brave goalkeeping from Austine Ejide he dives to smother at the feet of Aruna Dindane after Yaya Toure had smuggled a 'no-look' pass through Nigeria's static defence.

1818: An Ivory Coast corner drifts beyond the Elephants back-line and Arsenal bruiser Kolo Toure hammers the loose ball low into Austine Ejide's arms. Could have lofted that a la Dennis Bergkamp.

1817: Obafemi Martins skies another shot over the bar and I'm wondering of the kaleidoscopic ball is a factor here. Apparently it's been specially commissioned for the tournament.

1813: Midfield man Jon Obi Mikel, a hugely effective water-carrier today, is making sure Nigeria's players don't dehydrate. He's breaking up the play and distributing the ball to more creative players just like his Chelsea mentor Claude Makelele. Impressive irrigation.

1810: "I have watched the past 8 editions of the Nations cup with my friends and family in Nigeria. However, i am watching this year's edition alone in my apartment in the notoriously cold Minnesota winter. My heart tells me Ivory Coast will win the tourney while my heart tells me Nigeria will win. I'll go with my heart!!!"
Tosyn92 on 606

1806: Aruna Dindane turns like a ballerina but can't wrap his foot around the ball as his shots skews wide of the goal and off into the dusky African sky.

1803: Second-half underway as Didier Drogba muscles into the Nigeria box. No danger for the Elephants.

1801: Time for a quick reminder sports fans.

If you're reading this in front of a computer later on, you could be a part of the BBC's Africa Cup of Nations TV coverage, which is being streamed live on this site at around 2015 GMT.

At half-time of the tournament's late evening matches, the big issues in African football are being debated live in the studio - starting tonight, in the break between Mali v Benin.

That means you could have your questions and opinions put to our panel, which includes former Nigeria captain Sunday Oliseh, by simply posting a question on our 606 forum.

1758: "Eagles shall prevail. We perform better under this circumstances, where the pundits gives us no chance...go Nigeria..."
Sean from Auckland, NZ, on the text

1751: Curious about 'Nollywood'? Well, that's the name given to Nigeria's flourishing film industry, which is the third biggest in the world behind Hollywood and Bollywood - apparently.

Lungs bursting, the players troop off for a breather. Fantastically absorbing first-half.

1748: I've seen David Beckham make a couple of a 'Hollywood' passes, but never have I witnessed a 60-yard 'Nollywood' arrow across the turf.

1745: Best effort from Nigeria so far as Yakubu drifts out wide, picks up possession, cuts inside, and fires a shot just over Boubacar Barry's goal. Dangerous.

1741: Twice African Footballer of the Year, a European Cup winner with Ajax, and a hero to millions across Nigeria - but Kanu has been fairly quiet so far.

Barcelona's Yaya Toure wastes a cross as the ball floats into the stands. The trumpeters remain unflustered.

1737: The new Roberto Carlos? Nigeria's Taye Taiwo is some full-back and sprints down the left to cross towards Yakubu but, immobile and on the back-foot, the Everton man wastes all his good work and the ball is hoofed cleared by the Elephants. Sorry for that shoddy pun.

1736: Algerian referee Mohamed Benouza throws his arm to the heavens to book Obafemi Martins for diving after he scampered into the box under pressure.

1734: "The African Nations really is setting a marvellous example of high tempo attacking football which for neutral fans is an absolute joy to watch!"
Scottyp86 on 606

1730: Engrossing. Wild effort from Obafemi Martins but his swashbuckling ambition is admirable. Wonder if, in deepest darkest Durham, King Kevin Keegan is watching his Newcastle charge dance around on Sekondi soil?

1725: Saloman Kalou works an opening for Yaya Toure and the Elephants are starting to shade this. The action in the stands and the play on the pitch are united: bedlam. This is football.

1720: Yaya Toure stings the fingers of Nigeria keeper Austine Ejide with a 20-yard blast.

1718: Taye Taiwo nearly lifts the posts clean out of the ground as his free-kick rifles against the still-shuddering Elephants crossbar. What a free-kick.

1716: Grass-watch: different stadium, same problem. It's a shade too long. At least that's the general consensus from the budding horticulturalists surrounding me.

1715: But Elephants keeper Boubacar Barry spills a shot from Obafemi Martins and the ball bounces to safety. Long live end-to-end action!

1711: Both teams giving the ball away in a frantic opening. Thus far, I'd say the elephants are fending off any swoops from the super eagles with surprising agility.

In fact, Aruna Dindane works an opening for Didier Drogba but the Chelsea battering ram cannons the ball of a forest of Nigeria legs.

1708: "Super Eagles supporters should brace up for defeat. The Elephants are too compact a team to lose. I am for Ivory Coast."
Ikechukwu from Owerri, Nigeria on the text

Come to think of it, who would win in a fight: an eagle (of the super variety) or an elephant?

1704: Didier Drogba, Saloman Kalou, Aruna Dindane, and Kolo Toure all start for Ivory Coast. Both teams are extremely strong and already Kanu has gone close.

1702: Pre-match huddles disperse and we're underway. Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka, Yakubu Ayegbeni, and Obafemi Martins all start for Nigeria.

1659: A cacophony of noise in the stands drowns out a volley of high-fives from the players on the pitch as the two teams, who know each other so well, undertake their pre-match rituals.

1658: Time waits for no man. Not even Kanu. Zooming like Super Eagles down miles of tropical beach along the coast of Ghana, we land west from Accra in Sekondi for the heaviest of heavyweight group clashes. Morocco v Namibia was the calm before the storm.

And this is Nigeria v Ivory Coast.


1648: Right. Morocco are seconds away from putting Namibia to the sword and will sit, pretty as peacocks, atop the Group A table ahead of host nation Ghana. Poor Namibia are rock bottom.

1645: As this match drifts off into the abyss, so my thoughts have wandered off to Africa Cup of Nations matters of greater importance.

During last night's opening ceremony, local organising president Koffi Amoah proudly told the crowd in Accra that the competition "has connected Ghana to four billion people around the world."

If you sit back and ponder, that's fantastic.

1640: "Some of the African Refs in this competition are very good. They could easily make the step into the Premiership, because they are very fit and calm when dealing with players. Is there a rule that says only British refs can referee in England???"
Super_Fin_SAFC on 606

1637: A persistent breeze whips across Accra's Ohene Djan stadium as Morocco embark on a training session for their next match. Though the opposition have been limited today, the North Africans have been incisive and will surely challenge Guinea (if not Ghana too) for a place in the next round.

Your thoughts?

Completely unmarked and lurking ominously at the back post, substitute Moncef Zerka heads home for his first-ever goal for his country.

1628: The touch of Nancy's Youssef Hadji lets him down as he is forced wide to crash the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle. Resplendent in red, Namibia cause a scramble at the other end but Morocco clear decisively.

1625: Morocco's fourth-goalscorer Tarek Sektioui scuttles off the pitch as Hicham Aboucheroune skips on. There's been a flurry of substitutions from the North Africans as they look to give their squad crucial game-time.

1622: "Forget about all this losing Premiership players mid-season. The real issue is why would they schedule the cup of nations in the middle of my exams!"
Anonymous via the text

1619: Morocco's El Armine Erbate fires powerfully towards goal to force Abisia Shiningayamwe into a smart save. The subsequent corner comes to zilch.

1616: Despite that nugget from our man on the ground Farayi, I must pay tribute to the military-style trumpet tunes being blasted out from the sparse crowd. Puffed cheeks are the order of the day.

A scuffle between both teams ensues in the centre circle after a very late challenge from Richard Gariseb. And a medical buggy trundles onto the pitch to elevate this tournament to 'burgeoning classic' status.

1614: "There are about 1500 people in a 40,000-seat stadium."
BBC World Service's Farayi Mungazi in Accra

1611: "Days like today makes me a proud nambian. Don't write us off just yet. Namibia o o go boys."
Freddy, 'a Nambian' in Manchester, on the text

1608: Guess who's setting the attacking tempo? It'll be party-time on the streets of Casablanca right now as Morocco continue to pour forward. Youssef Hadji is an ever-willing runner in what looks like desperately dry heat.

1603: Back to Accra, and the second-half is underway.

1559: That's the food sorted, so now for some essential housekeeping.

If you are reading this in front of a computer later on, you - yes, you - can be a part of the BBC's Africa Cup of Nations TV coverage, which is being streamed live on this site at around 2015 GMT. At half-time of the late games, the big issues in African football are being debated live in the studio - starting tonight, in the break between Mali v Benin.

That means you can put your questions and opinions to our panel, which includes former Nigeria captain Sunday Oliseh, by simply posting a question on our 606 forum.

1551: Time for some refreshments at the interval? The food sounds sensational in Ghana. Apparently, there were pig snout slices and deep-fried fish head's aplenty on offer outside the ground in Accra last night.

And all I had for lunch today was a paltry tuna jacket potato.

In case you were wondering, the middle name of today's Cameroonian referee Raphael Evehe is 'Divine'. Namibia are going to need some far-off inspiration if they are to get anything from this.

1545: "In Windhoek and Swakopmund- a beautiful seaside town - there are roads named after the athletics legend Frankie Fredericks. I reckon you can run really quickly down them!! Good luck Namib boys!!!"
Perryashburtongroves on 606

...and Tarek Sektioui coolly slots the ball home. This equals the heaviest defeat suffered by Namibia in their only previous appearance in the tournament. Ouch.

Michael Chretien is chopped down on the right-hand side of the box, referee points to the spot...

1535: "Soufiane Alloudi's first half hat-trick is all the more impressive because he is not playing as a striker. Nominally his role is out on the right wing in Morocco's adventurous 4-4-2 system, but he frequently changes wings with Tarek Sektioui, as well as popping up in the middle, to devastating effect."
BBC World Service's James Copnall in Accra

1533: Youssef Hadji goes close with a back-post header while Tarik Sektiout flashes a powerful shot just past the upright. Maybe the rout is back on?

1530: GOAL Morocco 3-1 Namibia
Tidy work down the left from Tarik Sektiouti who send over a deep cross to that man Soufiane Alloudi who heads into the goal for a first-half hat-trick.

1529: My erstwhile colleague, whose father is called Raeburn, rightly points out that a small group of fans have now filed into the stadium and are making a fair noise.

1523: GOAL Morocco 2-1 Namibia
Tasty through-ball from Hamburg's Colin Benjamin and Brian Brendell finishes neatly with his left foot. Namibian world-class sprinting legends just breathed a sigh of relief and the Brave Warriors do exactly what their names suggests.

1519: Morocco continue to press, with Abderrahmane Kabous pulling strings like a puppeteer. Namibia need something from somewhere. Anything.

What about Frankie Fredericks? Oh no, he was a sprinter.

1515: "Skipping half a day of college in order to watch namibia vs morocco like when i left a mate's birthday gathering in 2006 to catch saudi arabia vs tunisia."
Corky101 on 606

Detention, 500 lines? Not really sure this match is worth all that Mr Cork.

1510: What a difference a day makes. Today's action in Accra contrasts starkly with the tense, bruising action on the pitch between Ghana and Guinea in front of a baying, boisterous crowd yesterday.

Amid deathly quiet, I can hear the players shouting to each other on the pitch and Morocco are ripping Namibia apart with ease.

But I am delighted to report that the groundsman has cut the grass on this occasion.

1505: GOAL Morocco 2-0 Namibia
Do I smell a goal fest? Soufiane Alloudi is a butcher's knife to Namibia's liver-like defence as he plays a clever one-two on the edge of the box and impudently dinks the ball over Namibia's desperate keeper Abisia Shiningayamwe.

1502: GOAL Morocco 1-0 Namibia
Comedy and calamity as Maroune Chamakh goes clean through to hit the post, the ball comes back out, before Soufiane Alloudi finally stabs home.

1500: Lo and behold we kick-off on time and the action is underway.

1457: The TV camera pans closely across the players' faces as they belt out the national anthems but no Gazza-style tongue-pulling antics.

But what happened to the sea of people and blaze of colour from last night? The stadium in Accra is virtually, and disappointingly, empty.

Defensive linchpin Colin Benjamin - who plays his club football for Hamburg - is at the heart of Namibia's side.
Southampton midfielder Youssef Safri starts for Morocco.

1448: In Namibia's Namib desert, surface temperatures can reach up to 70 degrees. Phew. Hopefully, the heat on the pitch today won't be too stifling - last night in Accra it was 33 degrees.

Also, can anyone believe how long the grass was last night?

1445: Benin v Mali is the late game of today, but first match up is Namibia v Morocco - the second game of Group A. Kick-off is just 15 minutes away. Feeling excited?

1442: "My name is Allison Paul, a Nigerian that lives in burkina faso. I bet my life, nigeria will defeat ivory coast hands down. No shaking."
Allison Paul on the text

'Shaking' is a new description to me Allison, but I like it. The Super Eagles, of course, take on Ivory Coast in what is an Ali-esque heavyweight clash.

1437: Now that I've introduced myself, I'd love to know who you are. Seriously, Ghana's last-gasp win over Guinea in yesterday's opener has already captured the imagination of the masses and it would be great to hear your thoughts on all today's action.

Who's going to win, what players we should be monitoring a la highly-paid Premier League scouts, where you're following the action, and anything else you care to mention. Either send me a text on +447786 202008 or dive into 606.

1430: Dispense with the aerodynamic, figure-hugging lycra people. And arm yourselves with a natty vest, some vaseline, and lots of fluids.

Because if the opening day of the Africa Cup of Nations was a breathless sprint, today - day two, officially the longest of the tournament - promises to be a marathon of epic proportions.

Welcome aboard, I'm Chris.

Africa Cup of Nations photos
21 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Ghana 2-1 Guinea
20 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Ghana v Guinea as it happened
20 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
2008 Cup of Nations qualifying
20 Oct 07 |  Africa Cup of Nations


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us