By Fred Kaweesi in Rustenburg
Ivory Coast v Tunisia 6pm
Algeria v Togo 9pm
MINUTES after his side’s 2-1 defeat to the Ivory Coast on Tuesday, Togo coach Didier Six sprinted to the auditorium below the Royal Bafokeng Stadium for the official post match media briefing.
But then before it could all get started, the same man was storming out agitated. He left members of the fourth estate shocked.
Didier was clearly disappointed that his Togolese side, led by Emmanuel Adebayor, had failed to live up to expectations on the night. He seemed so much in a hurry to execute the famous ‘hairdryer’ treatment to his Togolese side.
He was hurting that his side had given away a ‘cheap goal’ at the death against the Ivory Coast.
Back in the auditorium, his counterpart Sabri Lamouchi, cut a muted figure, reflecting on his team’s performance ahead of today’s explosive fixture against Tunisia.
“The first game is always difficult and it was not easy for us. We have good players in the team and I hope they have learnt something that they can use positively against Tunisia,” Lamouch pointed.
Expectations in both countries are running high, the anticipation of two passionate sets of supporters here heightened by a common history of frustrating under-performance on the international stage.
The pressure on what remains of the ‘golden generation’ of Ivory Coast players to finally win a major trophy is mirrored by Tunisia’s desire to make up for their missed opportunities in the last editions.
Tunisia triumphed 1-0 over Algeria in what was a pretty boring match over 90 minutes.
Although, the North Africans seem to have run into form at the right time, their pre-match omens are not all good for them.
They have not beaten the Ivorians in a major tournament and the physical approach of their opponents makes them exactly the kind of opponents their players traditionally struggle against.
In their last meeting in a friendly in Abu Dhabi, Ivory Coast won 2-0 and would go into the match with some degree of confidence if it were not for the disappointing form of Didier Drogba, who appears a little rusty.
“We need to keep the winning momentum going to not only reach the knock-out stage but also go all the way to win the tournament,” Yaya Toure hinted.
Toure’s goal against Togo meant he has scored in four successive Nations Cup finals. Another today would be welcome for the Ivorians!