Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 13, 2019 13:01


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By Satish Sekar in Maradi © Satish Sekar (February 4th 2019)


The floodlights at Maradi’s Stadium proved unfit for purpose yesterday, leading CAF to postpone the match between Burkina Faso and Ghana. But Mali’s match against Senegal went ahead. This meant that those nations would have an advantage whatever solution was provided – the only question to answer was how big would the advantage be?

Today, despite protests from Burkina Faso and Ghana, CAF’s answer came. Senegal and Mali would have a significant advantage. Burkina Faso and Ghana play this evening, and in the case of the Burkinabe, there would not even be 48 hours between the matches, let alone recovery time. Ghana get a fraction more time, but both Senegal and Mali have an extra day.

Preparations Disrupted

“Very unfortunate, very unfortunate,” Ghana’s coach Jimmy Corbblah says. “These boys, young men, you see, some of them never experienced this; need to take time to psyche them up, to let them know only God knows why.
“Maybe today [February 3rd] was not going to be our day, maybe tomorrow will be the best for us, but I think it did not go well with them.

“When we assembled them to talk to them, some of them were even praying; some of them were resting; some of them were sleeping, meaning that their focus that this evening they have a game that all of a sudden it comes that way.

“It has also punctures in our plan, but we are telling ourselves we are not alone, and Burkina Faso has also been affected, and so it’s a matter of we getting up and telling ourselves, ‘look, whether we like it or not, we are not playing today; we are to play tomorrow,’ so we went to training and I think we psyched ourselves up and we’ll be ready tomorrow.”

But behind the positive comments, Corbblah was not happy. As dusk approached, he still didn’t know what happen in the latter group stage matches.

Ghana and Burkina Faso protested, and with good reason. Whatever happened from now on Senegal and Mali would have the advantage of an extra rest day.

Revised Schedule

The revised schedule is Burkina Faso and Ghana play this evening at 16.30 and the second round occurs on February 6th. Burkina Faso play Mali at 13.30 and three hours later Senegal play Ghana.

The third round of matches occurs as originally scheduled on February 9th.

Quite why the first round wasn’t postponed to today, so all four teams had approximately the same recovery period is anyone’s guess.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 13, 2019 13:01