Boom! Just like that, albeit in bizarre circumstances, it was done and delivered by a fella called Baghdad Bounedjah.
In under two minutes, Algeria had scored the priceless goal that ended the Desert Foxes’ 29-year lengthy wait for the Africa Cup of Nations’ (Afcon) crown and left the Teranga Lions of Senegal stunned.
I rallied my support behind the Senegalese for two reasons. First, I have always had reservations with the perception of some North Africans, who for some reasons, do not consider themselves as Africans and I have examples.
While on a tour of duty in Tunisia in 2004, where I accompanied Bakili Bullets (now Nyasa Big Bullets) for their CAF Champions League showdown against Etoile du Sahel, a waiter I met at a hotel left me a little out of my breath during a chat when he said: “So, my friend you are from Africa?…I have never been to Africa, but I hear it’s beautiful and the people are nice, I would love to go there someday.”
That was not all. A couple of years later, during a light-hearted chat with a lady I met at a club in Cairo, Egypt called Tamia, I asked if I could take her to Malawi and her quick-fire response was: “No! I can’t go to Africa because there is witchcraft and I also can’t get hooked up with an African man because I understand they have big ‘tools’”….whatever she meant, but your guess is as good as mine.
Well, the other reason I supported Senegal’s cause was because their trampcard, Sadio Mane, is involved in the fight against HIV and Aids in Malawi as an ambassador. That said, Tunisia deserve their place in the sun, having put up a good show throughout the tournament, scoring 13 goals and conceding only two.
Hopefully, my beloved Flames drew some lessons from the showpiece on things like style of play, commitment and discipline other than copying funny hairstyles and ‘swag’ and they will take us to the 2021 party. After all, minnows Madagascar proved in their debut appearance that it is possible by defying the odds to qualify for the quarter-finals. Uloliwe uloliwe wayidudula neng’asiza hah! (Oh yes, the train is pushing). Glory be to God.