The 8th Edition of the Africa Cup for Nations (Men) pushed off in Accra amid great pomp and pageantry under the watchful eyes of the Vice President of the Republic His Excellency John Dramani Mahama. An elaborate and captivating ceremony was performed by the World acclaimed Noyam Dance Troupe to welcome the participating countries and set the stage for a fierce competition in the next 9 days.
After the ceremonies, defending champions South Africa took on host Nation Ghana in the men’s competition and virtually destroyed the hosts in the full glare of their vociferous and cheering fans who filled the stadium. The South Africans proved too good for a Ghanaian side that appeared bemused and overawed.
South Africa announced their intentions to defend their title as early as the 3rd minute when they converted the first penalty corner they awarded when Justin Reid Ross left keeper Akorful stranded with a roof-top drag-flick. The Ghanaians tried to lift their game up cheered on by their vociferous fans but Justin stepped up once again to convert from a penalty corner in the 19th minute to put the South African 2-0 up. Two minutes later, Justin registered the first hat-trick of the men’s competition with another penalty corner conversion to give South Africa a healthy 3-0 lead at halftime.
Back from recess, the defending champions went straight into business closing in on the hapless Ghanaians. They were rewarded 3 minutes into the half when Lloyd Norris Jones scored from open play. The Ghanaians at this stage were helpless and the south Africans killed off the game with 4 more goals in the 51st (Gareth Carr-PC), 56th (Lloyd Norris Jones-FG), 61st (Gareth Carr-PC) and 62nd (Gareth Carr-PC) to complete the 8-0 whitewash.. Gareth Carr registered the second hat-trick of the competition.
In the first match of the competition, Egypt fought back from a goal down at half time to pip a determined Nigerian side 2-1 with the winner coming 3 minutes from the end of the match.
Day 2 will see the commencement of the women’s competition with defending champions South Africa taking on Nigeria at 17:00 hrs and Ghana seeking to bring the smiles back on the faces of their fans with a win over Egypt in the 19:00 hrs match.