Unfair Advantage?

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 13, 2019 12:03


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Unfair Advantage?

By Satish Sekar in Maradi © Satish Sekar (February 3rd 2019)


Barely a day into the competition uncertainty and farce has descended on Niger’s Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. The floodlights at Maradi’s stadium failed to perform as required, causing the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to take the decision to postpone the second scheduled match between Burkina Faso and Ghana until tomorrow evening.

Nevertheless, this solution has caused uncertainty about what will happen in the rest of the matches in Group B, as Ghana’s coach Jimmy Corbblah confirmed.

“Yeah, I think that [changing the schedule] is what they intend to do because tomorrow, they’ve told us that we are playing 4.30 tomorrow, meaning that in our subsequent games, maybe they’ll bring the first games earlier, so that there will be no floodlight issue, because they cannot guarantee a floodlights game,” Corbblah said.

Unseen Effects

So what about the following matches and the unseen effects of the solution?

“This is the question I asked. I asked earlier,” Corbblah said.

“How are they going to do it? Because when you play a game you have some 48 hours to get yourself recovered and have some corrections and then play again.

“Now we are going to play on the 4th – that is tomorrow, and on the 6th we have a game to play.

“Are we going to play on the 6th or are we going to play on the 7th? And nobody has answered, so we’re waiting for the answer.”


If they play on the 7th the third round – potentially the most vital of all will be affected, as recovery time will be less than 48 hours. If later, Mali and Senegal will still have an extra day’s rest. Is this fair in such an important competition?

“Yeah, it will start from even the second games because as I said, yesterday Group A played, and that was on the 2nd, and they are to play on the 5th. We will play today and on the 6th, so now I ask, so when are we going to play our second game, because we supposed to have two clear days for recovery for us to play our next game, so that’s why I said, I have asked that question, and I’m waiting for an answer,” Corbblah explained.

And it affects their preparation too.

“Sure,” Corbblah said. “We are waiting to see the plans they have for us because when it happens, this is going to affect all of the B teams, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana.

“We’re all going to have that kind of problems, so I’m waiting for the answer to my question, what they will say because I’ve asked already, so what happens to us.

“When are we playing?

“Are we still playing on the 6th, or are we playing on the 7th, because as you said, it will surely affect you. It will definitely affect you, you know.

“Now that there are no floodlights, the games are going to be played in the sun and the sun is a bit hot, you know, so when the player played 90 minutes then maybe the next day, or the next day, they have to play again, it will not help the boys, the players, and it don’t help the team, and sometimes you think there is a player who can do the job, but for him to rest just a day to go and play he may be able to give you 100%.

“It’s also going to affect our tactics if you have to use somebody else who you think can do it without stress, which the other guy that would have 48 hours to give you his best cannot play because of the resting period, and so it will affect the boys; it will affect our tactics.

“It’s going to affect our preparation because you have no time to even go out there to do corrections.”

In a results-based industry such as football the line between success and failure costs jobs, and also, the dreams and opportunities of young players – a place in Poland’s Under-20 World Cup is also at stake.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar February 13, 2019 12:03