Date: January 31st, 2015
Venue: Estadio de Bata
City: Bata, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 21:30 (CAT)
Match Result: Tunisia 1 – 2 Equatorial Guinea
Goal Scorers: 1 – 0, Ahmed Akaïchi 70’; 1 – 1, Javier Balboa 90’ (Pen); 1 – 2, Javier Balboa 101’
The GSV Top Class Award
In a side packed with Spanish born talents, it would take a tad bit more quality to stand out in a squad that seems to be a near perfect blend between African artistry on the ball and Spanish efficiency with the usage of the ball; yet Real Madrid Castilla graduate Javier Balboa is a footballer of the highest quality. His performance showed a man that had matured from a promising young winger into a more complete and mature attacking midfield player with the mental aptitude to match his technical prowess. For stepping up, twice, in a crunch situation and leading his nation to an unexpected victory, Javier Balboa is the winner of our GSV Top Class Award. With a scintillating and mature display that showed a man that is now at the peak of his powers and ready to lead his nation with aplomb, Javier Balboa will have impressed many of his nations supporters and earned himself a legacy that will last for the ages; for his impressive shift and his contender for Goal of the Tournaments, Balboa is the worthy winner of the GSV Top Class Award.
The GSV Class Clown Award
The 30th edition of the African Cup of Nations has not been without it’s fair share of scandals and embarrassingly dire officiating, yet this game may have dished out the prime example of the lack of professionalism and competency in some of Africa’s “premier” officials; Rajindraparsad Seechurn was so dire in his application to refereeing the encounter efficiently and fairly that it was borderline comical. For failing to get a handle on the game before it boiled out of control, for failing to caution a bunch of theatrical sissies masquerading as international footballers, for failing to caution those same “footballers” when purses were being flung around, for being conned into awarding the last minute penalty that change the complexion of the encounter, for being forced to run from the scene of the crime after allowing players and coaches to intimidate him after bringing the game into disrepute and for a for other offences we refuse to list as we don’t want to honour this subject with anymore coverage than we already have, we happily award Rajindraparsad Seechurn of Mauritius with the GSV Class Clown Award. We would also request that the Tunisian bench, CAF and the payee’s of the endless bribes Mr. Seechurn must have received to throw the match accompany him onto the podium to accept an honorary GSV Class Clown Award for spoiling what should have been a great encounter.
The Grand Stand View
This game barely deserves to be revisited for many reasons, it was a largely un-entertaining clash that saw Tunisia defend like they had no interest in winning the game and time waste after scoring as if they had no appreciation for the art of football; Equatorial Guinea played well in parts and their game only elevated when Ibán finally checked in to add some life to their attack, one wonders why gaffer Esteban Becker would not start with his most potent attacking unit when facing a defensive side like the Eagles of Carthage. Aside from the quality free-kick netted by Javier Balboa to win Equatorial Guinea the clash, this game was an unpleasant encounter to endure and an unwanted blemish on the legacy of African football; the Battle of Bata will go down into legend as the game that showed just why African football has still not made the necessary inroads to matching or surpassing the global benchmark. We hope that our fraternity learns from the mistakes we made in this game, and many before it, and address the shortcomings of African football before they tarnish our football any further.