Thursday, January 12, 2017

Diamond to wow fans at Afcon

Bongo Flava artiste Diamond Platnumz (second

Bongo Flava artiste Diamond Platnumz (second left) receives the Nationa Flag from the minister for Information, Culture, Sports and Arts, Mr Nape Nnauye (Left) in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The artiste and his WCB crew will perform at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Libreville, Gabon on Saturday. PHOTO |THE CITIZEN PHOTOGRAPHER 

By Suleiman Jongo @slei_jongo

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian music sensation Diamond Platnumz will be the major attraction at the 2017Africa Cup of Nations finals, which roar into life on Saturday in Libreville, Gabon.

Diamond, one of the best Bongo Flava artistes, will perform at the opening ceremony of the 31st edition of the biennial tournament in Libreville, according to the event’s organising committee.

Diamond, who is among renowned artistes in the continent who will perform at the eagerly awaited ceremony, said yesterday that he was thrilled to be associated with the tournament also known as Afcon.

“I truly understand what the Africa Cup of Nations means to so many people, myself included. I just feelso grateful for the opportunity to perform at the opening ceremony of this year’s tournament in Gabon,” he said.

This championship is also part of the Africa Cup of Nations 60th anniversary.They will perform before a curtain- raiser between hosts Gabon and Guinea-Bissau in Libreville. The latter have vowed to make a flying start in the tournament.

Guinea-Bissau captain Bocundji Ca says there is no secret recipe behind the sudden success of theone-time African football whipping boys, just outstanding teamwork.

“We attack and defend together,” he told a radio station in the tiny, impoverished former Portuguese colony on the west African coastyesterday.

“I realise that sounds very basic, but our national football squad did not work as a team until recently. Teamwork has transformed us.

“Unwavering solidarity is the greatest factor in our successes and the fantastic support at the nationalstadium in Bissau has also proved crucial,” he added.

Roared on by a capacity 15,000-crowd in a stadium overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Djurtus (wild dogs) stunned 2012 champions Zambia 3-2 via a stoppage-time goal.

That triumph and an unexpected home win for Kenya over Congo Brazzaville a day later ensured Guinea-Bissau of a first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations with a gameto spare.

Grouped with 2017 hosts Gabon, who they face in the tournament opener this Saturday, Cameroonand Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau have been written off, again.

Ca says beating Zambia has given the team a belief that they can cause more shocks and emulate CapeVerde, who in 2013 reached the knockout stage at the first attempt.

“Why should we feel inferior to our group opponents? If Zambia were in Gabon, they probably wouldbe rated among the title favourites.

“We are determined to enjoy ourselves and the squad believes there is everything to gain and nothing tolose. Let our opponents do all theworrying.”

Born in the western Biombo region of the west African nation, the 30-year-old has played all his club football in France, with Nantes, Tours, Nancy, Reims and Paris FC.