Take me to Copa America, in my dreams



Yet another soccer contest has been bestowed upon us; the oldest international continental football showpiece is unfolding in Chile, one of the initial four teams to grace the primary contest in 1916.

Due to wayward time zones, Africa has been sidelined. Boasting a colossal 99 year history, Uruguay is the most successful competitor with 15 tittles. Though marred by administrative squabbles, it has endured for a century. Giving each country a chance to host using alphabetical rotation, Brazil’s 2015 turn was waivered due to their hosting of the last edition of World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Due to their small numbers, all countries in South America have had a chance to host, with Argentina hosting it nine times, when considering the previous setup, leaving space for other invitees from other association. Mexico and Jamaica are currently utilising that option this year. 1993 was the odd year when neither Brazil nor Uruguay has finished in the top four slots. I long Africa could achieve such feat, it remains my dream.  

As the competition unfolds, many including myself are safely tucked in bed and probably dreaming of the impending Afcon tourney. Watching a live match might be a pipe dream for most but we are still with South America in spirit. Mentioning spirits, the Neymar dud is void of any sporting spirit and his squad he will rue his act.   

Here is a young man, aged 23, laden with a capable prospect, then bestowed with the famous Brazilian number 10 jersey plus the captaincy and also achieving a treble with Barcelona. After all this has been said and accomplished, he proceeds to profile referees as matures and inexperienced. This is the same Neymar who a few years back was apprenticing in the lower echelons of Brazilian league before he crossed the divide into Europe.

And behold, all of a sudden he nominates the official’s behaviour unofficial after his unpalatable manners. And no one will miss his presence just like Luis Suarez the Uruguan workaholic. Big man do cry as well, they say and Neymar is a diminutive fellow and here in Africa we here his cry far and wild, even in our wildest dreams.

“That’s what happens when you have a weak referee. I only lose my rag when officials don’t do their jobs,” that was his valid reason for releasing a head butt towards an opponent. And now Neymar gives reporters a right to write on his uncalled behaviour. So his short stint in Europe has made him an expert in football matters. Fortunately, his career is not over yet, but his temperance need to.

As the twilight of the competition nears, many in Africa are clamouring for Argentina or Brazil to lift the trophy. But history is always stubborn with Uruguay the most successful team with a trophy haul of 15. Can they triumph once more lacking Suarez, the man whose teeth tears into opponents.

Argentina, the only squad to claim the title on three consecutive occasions coming in 145, 1946 and 1947 respectively, are oiled by Lionel Messi. So, as Zincha, the official mascot performs his craze just as Zakumi at 2010 in South Africa, and as Nike Cachana, the official ball game spins along, I will be deep in slumber awaiting the July 4 finale. 

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