The African Cup of Nations used the drawing of lots to settle the final Quarter Final place in Malabo today.
The draw was needed to decide who finished second in Group D after Mali and Guinea finished level on points, goals scored and conceded. The draw could have been even more farcical, had Cameroon equalised against Ivory Coast in their match last night. That would have meant that they would have had to draw lots to determine all 4 positions, meaning every match in the group was fairly pointless.
Ivory Coast’s victory saved CAF from that embarrassment, but their decision to delay the draw from last night to this afternoon is even more bewildering. Guinea pulled out the ball that granted them second place and progress into the Quarter Finals. The reality is that it could have a big impact on the destination of the cup. Both sides managed a draw in the group with the pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast, who will now play the new favourites Algeria in the Quarter-Final.
Guinea and Mali shared a 1-1 draw last night and by the time the match ended, everyone knew they couldn’t be separated in the group. Surely the logical thing to do was to ask them to either play extra time to force a result or go straight to a penalty shoot-out. Either way, it should have been settled by football, not a lucky dip. The Mali FA’s president chose the first ball, and chose incorrectly. Will that act by the moment that sees the trophy end up in Guinea’s hands?