The Africa Cup of Nations descended in a pseudo-farce today when Guinea progressed to the quarter-finals ahead of Mali after their name was pulled from a hat. Well no, not really. It was a bowl.
Guinea's minister of youth added to the spectacle by proclaiming: "Nobody expected us to be here, but we believe we can go all the way." There's a reason no one expected you to be there mate, because your team haven't won a game yet.
Ivory Coast's 1-0 win over Cameroon mercifully helped avoid the prospect of a four-way draw, but Guinea and Mali's stalemate sent a blazer-type scurrying for the nearest bowl - which, unless Jonathan Wilson is joking - and let's be fair he probably is - actually came from the kitchen.
So, after six group games - five of which had ended in draws, it all came down to a bunch of lads hunkered around said bowl in a hotel in Malabo. We're not sure exactly what the scene looked like, but we're imaging something like this:
Anywho, it was Guinea whose name was on the folded piece of paper to scenes of delight and jubilation amongst their assembled group of f̶r̶e̶e̶l̶o̶a̶d̶e̶r̶s̶ officials, and they will now play Ghana in the quarter-finals.
Article continues below
The fans meanwhile were completely overjoyed. Look at Kevin Constant, he can barely believe what's happening.
Spare a thought for Mali though who have been unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by bad luck. Or their own inability to win a game, whatevs. According to Jonathan Wilson, one devastated Malian official left the hotel in tears. He was understandably upset, but did he not know it was a possibility his side could lose?
Perhaps then, he might lobby the powers that be to use a different method to separate teams in the future if the same event occurs. Hopefully it wouldn't be televised, especially if they opt for number two.