PUMA Football News Archive
After the big Unity game, the concert was next on the schedule. Some of the biggest African and non-African artists, including Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Arthur H, Les Nubians and Amizigh Kateb, were there to celebrate Africa in a free concert at La Cigale, Paris.
The mood was wonderful behind the stadium, as the players from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon got together before the big Unity Game.
They might be rivals in two weeks, but none of that could be seen when they got together and goofed around like kids.
We asked Gervinho why he changed his name from Gervais Yao Kouassi to 'Gervinho'?
"When you get in the football squad at ASEC Abidjan they give you a nickname," he explained. "Because we have a Brazilian coach, we're given Brazilian names. So, everyone in this current squad has a nickname: mine is Gervinho, his [pointing to his interpreting team-mate] is Kalouno. It's basically a variation of your name. My full name is Gervais Yao Kouassi, so the Gervinho comes from Gervais. For me, since then the name just stuck!"
During lunch with Les Éléphants the whole team celebrated Seydou Doumbia who won Player Of The Year Award in the Swiss Championship and the applause might still echo across the Alps.
A nice little rest and delicious lunch later the team gathered in the lobby to take the bus to training. And that's where this curious little man showed up. His name is Stefan Von Gunther, a 43-year old German and he's an autograph collector with over 16,000 signatures under his belt.
Traveling with the Ivory Coast team is a surreal experience as it's almost as though a magical atmosphere surrounds them.
Oui! PUMAFootball have arrived in Paris. With this as a first huge French greeting, we're beyond psyched as we await the mighty Black Stars of Ghana to arrive for their last training camp before they head off to South Africa.
PUMAFootball: Can Arsenal win this year?
EBOUÉ: Yes, why not? I think so, I really think when you play football if you don't believe in yourself it's not worth playing. I believe that with the team we have if we continue to dig deep and continue to play like we are doing at the moment, I think we could win it.
I don't know if we can win the Africa Cup of Nations - I hope so but there are a lot of good teams who will try to stop us.
We had a lot of work to qualify. We were frustrated after the Burkina Faso game as they didn't attack a lot and tactically they stayed compact. We needed to score one and we didn't, which forced us to win against Ghana to go through.
PUMA Football thinks it may have been hexed by a very scary looking Ghanaian witch doctor. Admittedly, it wasn't a good time to take his picture. His team had just been trounced 3-1 by an Ivory Coast side that looked like they'd finally decided to win this tournament. If that wasn't reason enough for his grumpiness, he was being dive-bombed by giant moths and a torrential post match downpour was in grave danger of ruining his red face paint. If there's one thing that winds up an African shaman it's having his makeup run.