Cup of upsets as Algeria, Ivory Coast toil
The form book was shredded on day two at the Africa Cup of Nations as
Algeria crashed to minnows Malawi and favourites Ivory Coast stuttered
against Burkina Faso.
Away from the pitch Angolan security forces, who arrested two
suspects in connection with Friday's deadly attack on Togo, sealed off
the footballers' village in Cabinda in a bid to ward off any further
It was going to be a tall order to follow up Sunday's sensational
curtain raiser when Mali fought back from four goals down to snatch a
point against hosts Angola, but little Malawi managed it.
In only their second ever appearance in the competition they
inflicted a remarkable 3-0 thrashing of Algeria, who arrived in Angola
proudly carrying their ticket to the World Cup.
But the Carthage Eagles looked anything but world class as they were
torn apart in the searing heat.
Goals from Russel Mwafulirwa, Ivis Kafoteka and Davie Banda, did it
for the Algerians, who now have a mountain to climb if they are to make
it into the quarter finals.
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane put the shock loss down to a cocktail of
well organised rivals, the heat, and errors on the part of his players.
"We hope the Confederation of African Football (organisers) can
organise matches later because the weather was very hot and we didn't
"Our best players did not do their best - it was a difficult time to
"They weren't in their best shape, there was a lot of humidity. We
hope to play later next time."
Midfielder Rafik Saifi tried to put a brave face on the defeat.
"It's better to lose one match 3-0 than three games 1-0. We still
have two more first round matches, and we'll be doing our best to
qualify." Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri suggested the result, while
unexpected, was not totally out of the blue.
"We came here as underdogs but we've been playing well, the signs
were there. We drew 1-1 with Egypt, drew 0-0 with Ghana, and beat
Mozambique in warm up games."
The game was held in a near ghostly silence, with all but a couple of
hundred of the 11 November stadium's shiny new 50,000 seats vacant.
The day's second match took place up in Cabinda where Group B has
been reduced to three teams following Togo's departure after the attack
on their coach by separatist rebels killed two and injured nine.
Ivory Coast were odds-on favourites to take the three points but the
continental giants, boasting the likes of Didier Drogba and brothers
Kolo and Yaya Toure dominated possession but created few clearcut
chances and looked far from potential champions.
Burkina Faso set out a defensive stall and contained their opponents
with relative comfort to keep alive hopes of finishing among the top two
in a mini-league completed by Ghana and qualifying for the
Players stood silently before the kick-off to honour the dead while
police, soldiers and special forces cast a ring of steel around a
complex housing the teams.
Drogba reflected: "We came up against a compact side determined not
to let in a goal and it was pretty complicated. It was certainly hot but
the heat was the same for both sides. LUANDA, Angola, Tuesday, AFP