The Gabonese Football Federation stepped in to accommodate the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after Libya selfishly descended into civil war, showing wilful disregard for their role as host nation. Officials in Gabon will be hoping the tournament can put their country on the map, possibly at the expense of Cameroon or Equatorial Guinea.
Gabon’s preparations for the tournament have been blighted by visa processing issues, infrastructure problems and an incipient civil war of their own, which will grudgingly be given token coverage by football journalists irked at having to do some actual research rather than just farting out another 600 words about Mesut Ozil’s work ethic.
Gabon’s political crisis means that most of Group B’s fixtures have been moved to ‘Franceville’, a fictional city clearly hastily created by organisers as the tournament approached.
AFCON and the Premier League
This year, 23 Premier League players will have the bare-faced cheek to take part in the AFCON, to the chagrin of their managers, many of whom have just learned of the tournament’s existence for the very first time and suspect it to be a deliberate conspiracy to undermine their club’s chances.
Fans will therefore tune in expecting to see the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Riyad Mahrez and Nordin Amrabat do the decent thing and ensure their nations are eliminated as swiftly as possible so they can get back to fighting for that coveted 11th place.
Most games will be scheduled during the middle of the night at the behest of UK broadcasters, who would rather use primetime slots to show My Cat’s Fatter Than Your Cat and a dark, sexy reboot of Bergerac. But determined viewers can look forward to a feast of clichés and vaguely racist assumptions about naivety, corruption and goalkeeping incompetence, traits that everyone knows are unique to African football.
As is traditional at the AFCON, several nations’ football associations have been accused of planning to withhold player bonuses and reinvest them instead in untraceable Swiss bank accounts.
In past tournaments these stand-offs have threatened to derail matches, with the Ivory Coast famously refusing to take a shot on target until players were paid in 2013. This time around Zimbabwean players haven’t received their due fee but their Federation has agreed to pay the players per minute on the field by thrusting bundles of notes at them from the sideline.
Please note: This is all one big joke. Obviously.
Culled from Back of The Net feature on fourfourtwo.com