AFRICA AWAITS: Bright (left) and Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan
HAVING WITNESSED Ivory Coast previously falter at the last hurdle, commentator and pundit Mark Bright tips Ghana for victory at this year’s Africa Cup of nations.
The 29th edition of the annual tournament gets underway in South Africa on January 19 and, having last year tipped Ivory Coast – who lost to Zambia on penalties - to win the entire competition, retired professional footballer Bright has given Ghana his seal of approval for glory.
Speaking about the likelihood of the Black Stars lifting the winner’s trophy on February 10, Bright, who will be commentating for sports television network Eurosport at the Africa Cup of Nations, told the Voice of Sport: “I’ve seen them twice in warm-up games and they’ve beaten Egypt 3-0, who are the most successful team at the Africa Cup of Nations, and they beat Tunisia 4-2, who are also a good team, and they were losing in that game 2-0.
“I think they’ve got a good blend of younger and older players. I think they can do quite well.
Explaining his disappointment with the Elephants, the former Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday striker said: “Ivory Coast have been my favourites for the last few years but I’ve lost faith with them. They keep blowing it at the end.
“If you look at their players like Yaya and his brother Kolo Toure, (Arthur) Boka the left-back, (Didier) Drogba, (Chiek) Tiote – there are loads of players who have played across Europe and play for good teams.”
UNDERACHIEVERS: Ivory Coast
Bright, 50, continued: “It was quite a surprise when Zambia beat Ivory Coast on penalties. Over the last few years the Ivory Coast really should’ve won it. You have to earn the right to win it but with the team they had, they should’ve won it. I was quite surprised when they lost to Zambia. But they’re definitely one of the favourites.”
When South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup, several viewers and media outlets complained about the sounds created at games by the vuvuzela horn.
However, Bright – who is of Gambian heritage – was ‘appalled’ when hearing suggestions to ban vuvuzelas from fixtures.
“I love the whistles and the vuvuzelas. Love them. They are African football. That is them, that is what they do,” he said.
“I’ve been to five Africa Cup of Nations and while it’s annoying for people back at home – it seems like bees flying around the TV or whatever – if you’re in the stadium, that noise is constant and that’s what African football is about.
“When there was talk about banning them I was appalled. If clubs in Europe sing an offensive songs or something about someone’s family, no one is looking to ban those songs whereas the vuvuzelas are apart of their culture. I love the vuvuzelas and everything that comes with them.”
*Mark Bright will be commentating for Eurosport. Eurosport will be broadcasting all 32 games live and in high definition.