Following Ghana 2008 on the official Africa Cup of Nations websites
I've been struggling to follow this year's Africa Cup Of Nations tournament in Ghana. None of the local channels in Greece, even sport specialist SuperSport Hellas, are showing the games, and so I've been relying on the web to follow the fortunes of the Bokkies.
Today sees the start of the Quarter-Final stages, without Bafana Bafana, but I thought I'd quickly review some of the official sources of web information coming out of the tournament.
Official Ghana 2008 Site
The majority of the Ghana 2008 site seems dedicated to the pre-tournament organisation, rather than covering the tournament itself. This is exemplified by the fact that the site features a countdown widget to the start of the tournament, which rather than now counting down to the final, or simply disappearing, is resolutely stuck on 000 days, 00 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds to go.
Although there is a section for the fixtures and results, when you go to it in only gives upcoming fixtures, and you have to click to another section to get the latest results.
There are also some problems with the site if you don't use Internet Explorer. The tabbed navigation, for example, doesn't always seem to render in Firefox. There is a section with updating news on the tournament, but no RSS feed.
Official CAF Site
The Africa Cup Of Nations is organised by the African equivalent of UEFA, the Confederation of African Football or CAF to give them their footballing acronym. During the tournament their site has featured a promo to their Ghana 2008 mini-site.
This seems to be kept much more up-to-date than the Ghana 2008 site itself, with more news and results, although, again there is no RSS feed. One major annoyance is an embedded video that automatically plays with the sound up.
Some areas of the site are restricted to accredited journalists. I have to say that in this day and age of citizen journalism and blogging, I'm not entirely sure what it can be that CAF needs to hide behind a registration firewall. Unless they are giving details of how to get into the games for free, or the precise movements of the participating teams, bulletins about injuries, suspensions and the contents of press conferences don't really need to be kept secret.
That is provided you can successfully chase the link to the accredited login around the screen. As this video clip shows, journalists have to click a moving target to get access.
I suppose we should just be thankful they didn't deploy the dread <BLINK> tag as well!
Official FIFA Site
FIFA are not giving the tournament a great deal of coverage on the web. Although there are news stories coming out of Ghana, and the site keeps track of the latest results, there is no specialist section for the Africa Cup Of Nations. In fact, the news stories about Ghana 2008 are branded with the logo of the 2009 Confederations Cup, which will be held in South Africa as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup the following year.
Aside from that, the FIFA08 virtual tournament has a bigger billing than the Africa Cup Of Nations on the FIFA homepage.
That might be the right commercial priority for FIFA, but I'm not sure that it chimes with their aims of bringing the world's football family together for the benefit of all footballing nations!