Afcon keeps the pundits guessing

He was considered the most provocative, if not the most controversial, figure in football during his playing days. The European media labelled him a serial troublemaker and a rebel without a cause following an incident in which he spat in the face of Portsmouth’s Arjan de Zeeuw.

In faraway Libreville at an indoor arena this week, the former Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf, cruelly dubbed the Spitting Cobra, was in his element, tormenting defenders during a seven-a-side friendly kick-about in a team that included former Cameroon internationals Geremi Njitap, Roger Milla and Bill Tchato.

And, with sweat cascading down his face at the end of a 6-3 victory against a Gabonese side led by former national captain Daniel Cousin, in which he contributed a hat-trick, Diouf painfully denied that he was a dirty player.

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