Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Billy on the Box: A Knight an elephant wouldn’t forget

I have to hold my hands up and admit that the prospect of the start of the African Cup of Nations had me as thrilled as Michael Caine standing at the top of Rorke’s Drift wearing an ‘I hate Zulus’ T-shirt, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I am a convert, even if my eyebrows were a tad raised when Matt Smith told us that they were ‘kicking off ITV’s year of sporting competition in style.’

First up on their highlights was Ivory Coast and there were lots of Premier League players thus justifying why ITV4 were devoting so much time to it, but nothing to Eurosport who are there for every kick — once the speeches finished.

“It was a fabulous opening ceremony but this is going on a bit now,” said commentator Wayne Boyce but just as we were losing the will to live, on came the anthems ahead of Libya’s clash with Equatorial Guinea.

Now after a regime change things are a tad different in Libya, no longer the Greens they are the Mediterranean Knights and in honour appear to have adopted a version of the theme tune from Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds bashed out on a Bontempo organ as their groovy new anthem.

It didn’t do them any good as Equatorial Guinea got off to a winning start, thanks to a goal by a man called Balboa, but their win was far from rocky due in no thanks to their roving left-back known as Randy.

It seems then that these don’t just frequent Chelsea.

Boyce told us that very few of the team actually came from Equatorial Guinea and that they’d brought players in from all over the place. And you thought it was only the FAI who had adopted that policy?

Sadly for Andre Villas-Boas he contacted Who Do You Think You Are to find that Fernando Torres had no African in him and thus had to stay on while Didier Drogba (pictured) was in action for the Ivory Coast.

Their nickname is the Elephants, just in case it had slipped your mind, but there was dull chance of that with Peter Drury back over on ITV, as they took on Sudan, who were seemingly the Underdogs.

“So, how will the heavyweight Elephants cope this time with the weight of expectation?,” he asked, later telling us that the ‘Sudanese were getting under the skin of the Elephants’ who had put ‘on a performance that the Elephants want to forget’.

We get the message but don’t let the silly nicknames, mad shirts, tackling bordering on the illegal and wacky anthems deter you, this is what football is all about, even if it is on ITV4.

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