Posted: 2/2/2015
Title: FOOTBALL IN DARKEST AFRICA

Blog:                                                                                                                         

What comes to mind when you think of EQUATORIAL GUINEA, in the tropics and in the Guinea Bight? If you envision corruption, oil, dictatorship, failed coups, bushmeat,low life expectancy and more you would be correct. Child mortality is scandalous..20% don't reach their 5th birthday.

It ranks near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index and without much drinkable water even in the capital Malabo, disease is rife. The number of doctors per 100,000 is just 25 and that is despite 150 Cuban guest doctors. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been in charge since 1979 when he ousted his uncle in a coup, and although he is due to step down in 2016 he intends to keep power. In 2003 the radio declared him 'The Country's God' and that he had 'All Power over Men and Things'.

He is said to be worth $600 million and he deposited half a billion dollars in Riggs Bank in Washington D.C. which led to the Feds fining the bank $16 million. Three years ago many of his only son's assets were seized in France and USA including mansions in Malibu, jet planes and more.

This month the country of just 1,600,000 and the only Spanish speaking country on the continent is hosting THE AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS in 4 cities after co hosting the previous tournament in 2013 with nearby Gabon. Morocco refused to host due to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the possibility of an influx of spectators from that region. Equatorial Guinea had been thrown out of the finals after some dubious recruiting of foreign players whose only connection was that they liked to drink coffee. Their reward for hosting was to get Morocco's place. 9 Brazilians and one from Ecuador were issued with citizenship. Their women's national team made it to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany after giving passports to a whole team full of Brazilian women.

Zimbabwe had also offered to host but didn't have the funds, and have a similar human rights image. Four stadiums were put into service, including Nuevo Estadio de Malabo (15,000) in the capital which is on offshore Bioko island and the Estadio de Bata (41,000) in the mainland's largest city. These two stadiums were co hosts last time. Two small stadiums in the Eastern part of EG, near the Gabon border, Ebebijan (8,600) and Mongaba (15,000) have also been used.

Incredibly, referees from 22 nations are being used in the middle, plus more nations contributing assistant referees. We had a situation in the quarter final in Bata where the host played Tunisia who had taken the lead. Close to the end of the second half referee Rajindraparsad Seechum of Mauritius gave a VERY dubious penalty in stoppage time. Ivan Bolado went down in the corner of the penalty area and Seechum pointed to the penalty spot. Javier Balboa converted and the stadium went wild. The same player curled in a free-kick from 25 yards in extra time for the victory. Added time for stoppages were indicated but the referee blew early anyway. Tunisian players en mass chased the referee until riot police rescued him.

The semi-finals are on Wednesday in Bata: DR Congo v Ivory Coast ,and on Thursday, Ghana v Equatorial Guinea in Malabo, with the final in Bata on Sunday.The matches are on EUROSPORT.

Back