Friday, February 10, 2006

Egypt 2006: Mark Bright's View

On the eve of the African Cup of Nations final, the BBC’s Mark Bright has told Soccerphile he thinks the tournament has been a mixed bag.

The face of the corporation’s African football coverage in recent years told Soccerphile that what impressive showings there have been in Egypt have been equally matched by the disappointments.

“Guinea played well,” said Bright, while “Egypt and Cameroon along with Cote d’Ivoire have played the best football, but I did not think Nigeria or Senegal played well at all and Togo were poor.”

World Cup qualifiers Togo, who boasted Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor, the top scorer in Africa’s World Cup qualifying groups, exited the tournament with three straight losses and not a little friction in their dressing room.

“Adebayor wreaked havoc in the camp by all accounts, nobody has a good word to say about him.” Bright commented.

Togo and Angola, both qualifers for Germany, failed to make the last eight in the African Cup of Nations, along with Ghana, whom Bright thought were “easily forgettable! They were unimpressive.”

“Their midfield trio missing cost them any real chance,” he went on. I can't see them doing that well based on how they played here. Plus Kingston will be suspended for the first 3 games having been sent off.”

In response to having his injury absence questioned by Ghana manager Radomir Dujkovic, Michael Essien issued a remarkable press release insisting he looked on his coach, “as my father” and asked for the fans’ prayers “at this difficult time.”

“I’m not sure how much the coach is to blame,” thought Bright on reflection. “I think it is too easy to blame him. Essien obviously was a factor but I didn't see anything that would frighten anyone at the World Cup.”

Bright starred for seven clubs in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and most famously formed one half of Crystal Palace’s ‘Wright & Bright’ strike partnership alongside future Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

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