The Ivory Coast came back from being 2-1 down on Saturday against Senegal, and scored three good goals in the last 25 minutes in Abidjan, and two of those in the last 10 minutes to come out 4-2 winners.
Les Ferdinand - Ivory Coast win would be much better for Newcastle
That’s a good result for Newcastle because if the Ivory Coast qualify for the African Cup of Nations in January, we lose only Cheick Tiote, otherwise we lose both our top strikers Cisse and Ba, and we don’t exactly have much in reserve in the striker department at the moment.
It’s a two legged play-off and the second leg takes place in Dakar on October 10th, and we have to hope the Ivorians prevail – if only for the good of Newcastle.
Certainly Newcastle fans will be cheering on the Ivorians who should now qualify (we hope), after getting that two goal lead on Saturday at home.
Les Ferdinand has given a number of interviews today in the local pres, and he had this to say about that play-off:
“Losing your two best strikers in the middle of the season would be a nightmare for Alan Pardew.” “So – no disrespect to Senegal – but you can be sure he will be keeping his fingers crossed that Ivory Coast finish the job and qualify next month.”
“It would be a big disappointment for Ba and Cisse, because of course they want to represent their country at a major tournament, but from a purely Newcastle point of view it would be good news.” “Ba and Cisse were so important to United last season with their goals, and it would be very hard to replace them if they went away on international duty.”
“It’s almost a case of tossing a coin for Alan Pardew – but I know which option he would prefer!” “If the Ivory Coast qualify, Newcastle could still have Tiote away. He’s an important player for Newcastle, but it would be easier to manage without one midfielder than your two best strikers.”
“It’s an old problem, because managers know when they sign internationals from Africa that the chances are they will lose them for the African Nations Cup every two years.” “It’s something you have to consider. But no one can blame the players for wanting to compete in the competition. The ACN is as important to African players as the European Championships are to us.”
“They are proud to pull on their country’s shirt and they want to play on that stage.”
The African Cup of Nations wanted to switch their competition to odd years, so they avoid the European Championships and the World Cup which take place during even years.
But that means there will be two successive African Cup of Nations (AFCON) – and we lost Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote last January and February.
Let’s hope the AFCON don’t have a change of mind again and want to change back to even years – any time soon.
Comments always welcome.
You can also reach Ed at email@example.com