Any idea what the mascot of the 1992 Africa Cup hosted by Senegal was?
VOA’s Teffera Teffera knows!
Check it out:
Any idea what the mascot of the 1992 Africa Cup hosted by Senegal was?
VOA’s Teffera Teffera knows!
Check it out:
Gabon overpowered Burkina Faso 2-0 to jump to the top of Group A standings, as the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament got underway on Saturday.
Host Equatorial Guinea and Congo battled to a 1-1 draw, meanwhile, in the other opening match of the tournament.
Led by goals from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, a striker for Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, and a header from 72nd minute Malick Evouna, Gabon claimed bragging rights, at least for the moment, as the leader of Group A, and the tournament. Burkina Faso had come into the match with high expectations with a run into the finals in 2013 before defeat by Nigeria.
Nigeria, much to many observers’ surprise, didn’t even qualify for this year’s tournament.
Congo disappointed a home turf crowd, when Thievy Bifouma netted a late goal to tie Equatorial Guinea. Emilio Nsue Lopez scored early, in the 16th minute, to the delight of the host nations.
VOA’s Sonny Young previews the tournament, which kicks off today with matches between host Equatorial Guinea and Congo and Burkina Faso v. Gabon:
From hippos and eagles, to lions and antelopes, the African Cup of Nations (or AFCON as it is known) has seen some colorful mascots over the years.
VOA’s Teffera Teffera searched through the jungle that is the internet to find some of these wild mascots, and was not disappointed.
Check them out in part 1 of VOA’s “Mascots of the Past”!
The 16-country Africa Cup of Nations is small potatoes compared with the FIFA World Cup, or the Olympic Games. But it’s capital “H” Huge in Africa.
Morocco had been scheduled to host the 2015 tournament, but with rampant fears of Ebola, the kingdom ask to delay the event for a few months. That prompted the regional soccer governing body, the Confederation of African Football, to strip Morocco of its right to host in November. (And even barred it from even participating).
Enter Equatorial Guinea, a small, West African country that is home to lots of oil and a regime that is widely considered to be spectacularly corrupt and repressive, which was then chosen as the alternative host.
With just nine week to organize and an estimated $40 million price, putting on the tournament was never going to be easy. Organizers had to build a lot of the infrastructure from scratch: stadiums in the middle of jungles and forest; replace dirt roads with multi-lane highways and so on.
Hotels, it would seem, have been given short shrift.
So much so that Congo’s coach Claude Le Roy complained to the BBC this week that the hotel his team has been put up is, shall we say, lacking.
“There are not enough places for my staff and it’s even difficult to find rooms for the players,” Le Roy said.
“The electricity is terrible, everything is exposed. I wanted to wash my hands. There was no water.
“I don’t want a big five-star hotel. I just want something very clean.”
Equatorial Guinea 2015 is shaping up as one of the most competitive Africa Cup of Nations football tournaments in recent years.
The 16-team tournament, which kicks off January 17th, features nine former champions, but not the reigning titleholder, Nigeria, which failed to qualify.
Longtime African football analyst David Legge, soccer writer for Agence France-Presse, says he counts seven teams that could possibly lift the trophy on February 8th in the seaport city of Bata.
They are, in alphabetical order, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
The Desert Foxes of Algeria kicked sand in the faces of many World Cup experts by reaching the Round of 16 for the first time in the country’s history at last year’s football showpiece in Brazil.
However, the Algerians haven’t won the Nations Cup since 1990 when they hosted the African championship and captured their only crown.
Of the seven teams that Legge mentioned, Ghana and Cameroon have the proudest Nations Cup pedigrees. Each has won the Cup four times.
The Black Stars of Ghana, like the Desert Foxes, have gone through a long dry spell at the Nations Cup. Their last African title was in 1982.
Cameroon’s last championship was in 2002, when it beat Senegal, 3-2 on penalty kicks, in Mali. That was Senegal’s best ever Nations Cup showing.
Legge’s dark horse picks for the 30th edition of African football’s premier event are Gabon, Cape Verde and Congo-Brazzaville, which plays Equatorial Guinea in the tournament’s opening match in Bata.
He says “the sly French fox” Claude Le Roy, the head coach of Congo-Brazzaville, makes the Congolese a threat to go far in Equatorial Guinea.
The 66-year-old Le Roy has had successful coaching stints in the past with Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Legge’s words, “has a magical effect” on the teams he guides.
Equatorial Guinea, which co-hosted the 2012 Nations Cup with Gabon, has had only about nine weeks to get ready for staging the tournament at a cost estimated at $40 million.
Morocco, the original host, wanted the competition postponed because of Ebola fears and Equatorial Guinea stepped in as a last minute replacement.
My first Christmas card this holiday season came from Magnus Chisom Onwudiwe, a dedicated disciple of the show whose loyal listening over the years has cemented his nickname of The Humble Apostle of the Sonny Side of Sports.
Magnus writes, “Season’s Greetings from Owerri in Imo State, Nigeria. It is with a heart full of love that I send greetings to you and your family, as well as everyone at the Voice of America. Sonny, I really missed you during your visit to Nigeria.”
My visit to Nigeria in October was one of the most memorable trips of my VOA career.
During stops in Lagos and Abuja, I met Nigerian friends who, like Magnus, told me they had grown up listening to the Sonny Side of Sports.
Ferdinand Nwachukwu, Station Manager at VOA partner Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM in Abuja, gave me an official pardon after saying he had written me some letters several years ago without getting any response.
With a forgiving heart, Ferdinand hosted me on his lively sports call-in show and also introduced me to his staff in Abuja.
Earlier, in Lagos, I received a rousing welcome from Dr. Larry Izamoje, the CEO of Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM, his wife, Bridget, and fans of my program.
Dr. Larry and Bridget presented me with some beautiful gifts, including traditional Nigerian attire fit for a chief.
Looking back on 2014, I was delighted that VOA’s longtime Bangla sportswoman, Roquia Haider, could join me and Ghanaian football player Samuel Inkoom on my 30-minute radio show.
Roquia, now the chief of VOA’s Bangla Service, was one of the first people I met after being hired by the Voice of America in 1988. She asked Inkoom about his development as a player in Ghana as well as his impressions of Major League Soccer (MLS).
The 25-year-old Inkoom played only a few matches for D.C. United, the MLS club based here in Washington, before being traded to the Houston Dynamo last week.
Early in the year, another young Ghanaian football player, Joshua Yaro, also visited our VOA studios here in Washington.
Joshua says he’s focused on his education at Georgetown University, but he also hasn’t ruled out a professional football career.
Last week, Joshua earned All-American honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and he’s being touted as a possible #1 overall pick in next month’s MLS Draft.
Yaro and Inkoom both got their kicks in 2014, and I look forward to getting a few more too in 2015.
It’s been a very good year for Ugandan boxer Sharif “The Lion” Bogere, and his three victories over Mexican opponents have put him in good position for another world title shot in 2015.
The most recent win for Bogere (26-1, 18 KO’s) came October 30th when he knocked out Fernando Garcia in the 5th round in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Bogere dominated the bout with his speed and power and he put Garcia down for the count with a one-two combination, finishing off the Mexican with a straight right.
This marked the first time the 26-year-old Bogere has fought in Plymouth, the historic Massachusetts town founded by the Pilgrims in 1620.
Plymouth also holds a special place in the heart of this sporty blogger. My parents are proud graduates of Plymouth High School’s Class of 1947.
Sharif “The Lion” Bogere, meanwhile, is a proud graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. He learned to fight as a little boy on the streets of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
Bogere says at a young age, he dreamed of moving to the United States, fighting professionally and becoming a world champion.
Now based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bogere got his first shot at a major world title last year in Vegas where he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Cuba’s Richar Abril for the vacant WBA lightweight title.
Bogere’s movement in the ring was limited against Abril, though, after he hurt his Achilles tendon in one of the middle rounds.
The Ugandan Lion underwent successful surgery on the Achilles, and now, after a successful 2014, Bogere is moving towards another world championship fight in 2015.
Liberian football great George Weah and Sierra Leonean soccer player Michael Lahoud, who come from countries hard hit by Ebola, are helping raise awareness about the deadly disease.
The 48-year-old Weah recently returned from Ghana where he recorded an anti-Ebola song with his friend, musician Barima Sidney.
Weah told VOA he thought music was a great way to get the message out in the fight against Ebola.
In the song, the 1995 World, African and European Player of the Year talks about how Ebola is transmitted and how people can protect themselves from the disease.
Meanwhile, 28-year-old Michael Lahoud, a midfielder for Sierra Leone’s national team and Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union club, is leading an online, social media campaign with the hashtag #KickEbolaInTheButt.
The campaign is modeled after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $100 million for the neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
#KickEbolaInTheButt encourages people to post video of themselves kicking a ball off a partner’s rear end. Donations go to Doctors Without Borders, which has been active in west Africa helping treat Ebola patients.
Lahoud says he was motivated by the prejudice and harsh treatment that Sierra Leone’s team received from opposing fans during 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches last month.
My friend David Legge, African football writer for Agence France-Presse, says footballers have a very special place in the hearts of all Africans. And he salutes Weah and Lahoud for their efforts in the fight against Ebola.
Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.
The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.
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