Thursday, 28 January 2010

The beautiful game

I'm boarding up the windows in anticipation of this afternoon's Algeria v Egypt African Nations Cup semi final in Angola. Arsenal v Tottenham has got nothing on this one, and after Algeria's explosive World Cup qualifier victory over the Egyptians in Sudan last November the north London Algerian community celebrated with a fireworks display to match the Beijing Olympics.

Chelsea and the Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba is only one of many players and officials who have been complaining about the condition of the pitches in Angola, blaming it for a glut of injuries and poor quality play. Excuses, excuses. I saw one pitch with a road cutting it in two when I lived in east Africa for a while, and another with a tree growing near the centre circle. The quality of play was still higher than you get on our local astroturf.

As for bad conditions, Didier should try playing in Peru, where the the Estadio Daniel Alcides Carrion de Cerro de Pasco stadium is not only about 4,300 metres above sea level but has some, er, challenging weather conditions to boot:

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