Afcon Daily: 24 June 2019

 
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 Few things will give you a reality check like covering sport does. It’s character building to send rookie reporters to a T20 with endless rain delays, then reduced to five overs… only for that to eventually be called off because of more rain.

But with those irritations comes a valuable lesson: the result is secondary.

When interns whizz through my doors, I cherish the ones who look for results beyond the numbers.

So, while Pakistan did the merciful thing and sent the Proteas packing, moaning around the braai is but a tame past-time in the greater context.

Bafana Bafana are unlikely to fare much better when they start their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against the Ivory Coast on Monday. But you can only be disappointed if your benchmark of expectation rests on the results.

There’s much more to sport than that. 
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What’s happening today
 Tip for the day: if you want to brighten up your selfies in a dark nightclub, make sure you carry a flare to use as a portable light. 
 A disappointing lack of VAR protesting. The tournament will use technology to assist, but only in the latter stages of the tournament. Not quite how it went down at the Women’s World Cup over the weekend. Cameroon have been accused of “shaming” football (story in The Guardian). Players briefly went on strike after an England goal was given by VAR and another from Cameroon disallowed.

Now, you could be perturbed by the drama and disappointed by the result (if you’re from Cameroon). Or, you could ask what this all says about the greater context. Was it a bit OTT? Sure. But at least the women’s team didn’t kick up a fuss pre-tournament over pay bonuses like their male counterparts. That’s the story.

Fixtures

16:30 Ivory Coast vs South Africa
19:00 Tunisia vs Angola
22:00 Mali vs Mauritania 
What’s worth reading today
 Less reading, more watching. If you think flares in the stands are a bit extra, check out Al Ahly’s fans during training in this clip.  
Stat of the day
 Benni McCarthy is the only South African to have scored a hat-trick at the Africa Cup of Nations. He did so in 1998 against that footballing powerhouse, Namibia. You can read more about the hat-trick feats of both sides here
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Antoinette Muller
Antoinette is a recovering journalist. She's a multi-award winner and thinks it's strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she's playing as herself in The Sims.