On a lawn in poor condition in a stadium of Ebimpé won over to the cause of the Ivorians, elephants and indomitable Lions fought a fight at the end of which the lawn stood out as the real star. One wonders how the African Football Confederation and FIFA approved a stadium with such a playing area.
This is one of the major facts to remember from this international meeting between Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon: a lawn as we do not like them, yet in a football country, Côte d’Ivoire. The 10 thousand privileged spectators had come to see the spectacle, beautiful gestures, in short, to live a great moment of football through this great classic of African football. Jean Michael Seri, Maxwell Cornet, Eric Bally and Serges Aurier on one side, Vincent Aboubakar, Harold Moukoudi, Christian Bassogog and Franck Zambo Anguissa on the other, everything was there, humanly to have a good time in front of a delightful spectacle. But it was without counting on the star of the evening: The lawn.
In a country where the Federation has been under normalization for several months already and unable to organize a normal election, there is no doubt that the maintenance of the lawn can not be a priority for the leaders. Yesterday during the meeting, we had the impression of being in a vast field of potatoes ransacked by a herd of oxen. Far, very far from international standards, Ebimpé’s lawn quickly caught the limelight from the 22 players. The 11 Cameroonian holders had particularly difficult to adapt to it in the first period. They quickly gave up, conceding two goals very quickly in the game, because they were unable to develop their game based on placed attacks. Quite the opposite of Côte d’Ivoire which, in its more direct style of play, had less trouble than the indomitable lions.
It is therefore urgent for the Ivorian and African football authorities to hold the bull by the horns and urgently make this lawn unworthy of the beautiful architecture of this 6,012-seat den, before future deadlines, so that never again, that does not happen again.
The programming of matches on lawns of such a level of degradation does not convey a positive image of African football. A few days ago (Wednesday, September 1), the Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi expressed his anger by discovering the deplorable state of the lawn of the Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida where his team was to receive Djibouti on behalf of the first day of the qualifiers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.