Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Week 1

In this football language podcast for learners of English who love the beautiful game, we look back at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations that is due to start this weekend in Cameroon. You can read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Week 1

DF: Hello again everyone, this is Damian from the Languagecaster.com team and we hope you are all well and staying safe. I am here in a freezing cold London, while the other member of the Learning English Through Football podcast team, Damon is in Tokyo where I imagine it is also really cold! Now, after a short break over the New Year – the festive period – we have already posted a couple of podcasts in 2022, with Damon talking about ‘heavy metal football‘ and then we did one on a group of phrases all linked to the expression ‘in a row‘ and another on some FA Cup resources after last week’s FA Cup 3rd Round weekend in England – some great resources and materials for learners and teachers of English.

So, in today’s podcast for all fans of football who want to improve their English skills we look back at the first week of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations that kicked off last weekend in Cameroon. In order to do this we’ll look at the good, the bad and the ugly from this first week. Of course, there is also a transcript with this listening report which you can use to help with teaching or learning English.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Thai)
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Introduction

Okay, this is the 33rd time that the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will take place and it is the first time that Cameroon have hosted the event since 1972. There will be 23 other teams, along with the hosts, hoping to lift the trophy on February 6th after a month of football. The 24 participating sides are divided into six groups of four with the top two from each group and the best four third-place sides all qualifying for the last 16. Similar to the 2020 European Championship which took place in 2021, this tournament should have been played in the previous year but because of the pandemic was switched to 2022.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in French).

Let’s have a look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly from the first week of the AFCON tournament.

The Good

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Well, it’s great that the tournament has finally gone ahead after so many delays and doubts, but it has also been a good start to AFCON for three of the pre-tournament favourites: hosts Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco who have all won their opening two matches to top their respective groups and qualify for the last 16.

Gambia, the lowest-ranked team in the competition, are playing in their first ever AFCON finals and they started their campaign with a win over outsiders Mauritania in Group F to give themselves a great chance of advancing to the knock-out stage. The other debutants in the tournament, Comoros, have yet to secure a point and are bottom of Group C but their keeper, Salim Ben Boina, produced an amazing performance in their 2-0 defeat against Morocco, including a penalty save and an unbelievable triple save that prevented a thrashing for his side.

The Bad

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The first week of the tournament has not really seen too many goals with only two games having more than one goal being scored: the opening match of the competition which saw hosts Cameroon coming from behind to defeat Burkina Faso 2-1 and Nigeria’s 3-1 victory over Sudan. In the other 11 first set of matches, there were nine 1-0 victories and two scoreless draws – this slow start may be due to the fact that many players arrived only days before the competition started, while the weather has been quite hot in many of the matches.

The Ugly

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Well, there were some ugly scenes both during and after the Ghana versus Gabon match which ended in controversy after the Gabon equaliser in the 88th minute. With a Ghana player down injured, they kicked the ball into touch but their opponents refused to return the ball and went on to score. There were scuffles among players that went on again after the final whistle and resulted in Ghanaian substitute Benjamin Tetteh receiving a red card. Ghana players were left angry at the perceived lack of sportsmanship of their opponents but maybe they are also frustrated at the fact that they only have one point from their opening two games and face the prospect of elimination if they don’t win their final game.

However, the biggest story from the competition so far came from the Group F game between Mali and Tunisia in which Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe blew for full time five minutes early. After realising his error, he continued the game but then he signalled for full time again even though the clock showed there was still more time remaining. The Tunisian players remonstrated with the referee but the game finished 1-0 to Mali. That is until twenty minutes later when the organisers told the players to return to the pitch to play out the remining time. The Malian side did go back out but the Tunisian team refused and the game was awarded to Mali 1-0. A bizarre way to conclude a match.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Swahili).

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in Swahili and we’d love to hear from any other fans of football in Africa who might like to share the message, ‘you are listening to Languagecaster.com’ in their or indeed any other language.

OK, that’s it for this short podcast in which we have looked back at some of the highs and lows from the first week from the AFCON tournament and we’ll be looking at some more words and phrases used to describe some of the matches in this competition over the next couple of weeks. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. We also have a football language forum where fans of the beautiful game can ask and answer questions on all kinds of football language – come along and join in the football language discussion. OK, enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

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Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

PodcastEpisode 785