There's Zombies on the Pitch

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After Angola vs Mali when the host nation miraculously managed to throw away a 4-0 lead PUMAFootball thought the African Cup of Nations couldn't get any more unpredictable. Then it did. Michael Jackson moonwalked on to the pitch during Ivory Coast vs Burkina Faso.

OK it may not have been the real King of Pop but to the delight of the fans at the Estadio Chimandela, the Cabinda Wacko Jacko wasn’t Bad. In fact, he and a supporting cast of ghastly ghoul dancers made a damn fine fist of re-enacting the Thriller video during their crazy, unpredictable and yet brilliant half-time performance.

Surprise with a side order of amazement really is the order of the day here in Angola. Behind every door there seems to be something to flabbergast. Take PUMAFootball’s arrival at the game. One wrong turn and we arrived not at our seat but quite bizarrely at pitch side where stumbling into the sunshine, we found ourselves just meters away from The Elephants who were in full flow trying to break down Burkina Faso’s steadfast defense. We must have stood there for a good five minutes wrapped in the action and breathing our hot, excited breath on to the necks of the players on the subs bench before a helpful steward arrived to helpfully show us to our seat.

It was still 0-0 in the opening game of Group B but judging by the reaction of one particular character you would have thought we were watching a goalfest. Barking into his mobile phone in rapid-fire bursts, Ghanaian radio commentator Steve was working up a prodigious sweat, while the rest of us fans could only watch on in admiration. But Steve doesn’t work alone. A tightly knit posse supported him including a dapper toothless gent in a pinstripe suit providing occasional analysis, an enthusiastic Burkina Faso fan who clapped and cheered on demand and last but by no means least, a professional mopper waiting on hand to dab Steve’s sopping brow with a hankie whenever possible.

It was quite a show and the game wasn’t bad either. The stellar cast of the tournament favorites Ivory Coast looked impressive. While credit must be given to Paulo Duarte’s well-drilled Burkino Faso side who managed to deny The Elephants. But for PUMAFootball, for this match at least the real highlight of the game were not the legends on the pitch but the stars in the stands.