Very nice to see a full stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday at the FNB (First National Bank) Stadium at Soccer City. I first went there in 1993 for both the Women's and Mens' Cup Final and for a number of matches at FIFA World Cup 2010.
South African Rail did a brilliant job three years ago of getting us there with new, clean trains and guards in each carriage, and express trains from Pretoria Central, where I had only a 100 metre walk home to my hotel.
With some big names missing such as Egypt and Cameroons it was expected that Ivory Coast would be favourites, but neither reached the final. Nigeria won for the third time and their squad was not exactly star studded. Coach Stephan Keshi, in the job for 18 months became the second to win as a player and later as a coach. The first was Egypt's Mahmoud El Gohary. He included 6 domestic league players and did not invite Aijegbemi (Guangzou), Odemwinge( West Brom), Martens (Levante). Taiwo,(Kiev).
Captain Joseph Yobo said that team unity was very strong. The 1-0 victory over suprise package Burkino Faso - only 62nd in FIFA's rankings, set them up for the Confederations Cup in Brazil this June where they intend to me more than tourists. The wonderfully named SUNDAY MBA scored the only goal in the final. Emmanuel Emerike won the Golden Boot with 4 goals from open play and Burkino Faso's Jonathan Pitruipa was Tournament MVP. He plays for Stade Rennes.
CAF President Issa Hayatou of Cameroons intends to seek re-electin at the CAF Congress in Marrakech, Morocco later this month. He has been in charge for 26 years and is still only 66. Also a FIFA Vice-President, he is under investigation by FIFA for corruption, and also by the I.O.C. His supposed challenger for the Presidency, and also under FIFA suspicion, is Jaques Anouma of Ivory Coast. However, Hayatou has changed the statutes to prevent him running. Anouma has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Hayatou will take 56 votes to the FIFA Congress in Mauritius May 30/31 and hopes to derail any attempt to bring changes to the FIFA statutes, such as transparency, full disclosure of all wages, bonuses, expenses and honorariums, and 'fit and proper person' requirements, set out by Mark Peith the reformer hired by FIFA. Michel Platini is also worried about these changes and intends that his 53 UEFA votes will be used in battle. There are 208 FIFA member votes, with a 3/4 majority needed to bring in change. DON'T EXPECT MUCH !!