Ghana and Ivory Coast can shift the focus of attention from crowd disorder to footballing skills when the two neighbours meet in the final of the African Nations Cup on Sunday. Ghana’s 3-0 semi-final victory over hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Thursday was overshadowed by violence, 36 people being injured, one seriously.
The game was halted for more than 30 minutes near the end as objects were thrown from the stands at the opposing team, officials and fans by locals angry at the demise of their team.
Ghana and Ivory Coast have followed remarkably similar paths to the final, starting the tournament slowly with new-look teams as they tried to forget disappointing 2014 World Cup campaigns. The Ivorians spluttered through the Nations Cup qualifiers without retired talisman Didier Drogba.
New coach Herve Renard said he risked alienating members of the squad by accusing some of his better players of pulling in different directions. He has also still to rid himself of the scowl that has been permanently etched on his face from the start of the three-week tournament.