STP 1-0 LES
A week before the 2012 African Cup of Nations is due to begin in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, the first playing steps on the road to the 2013 tournament have been made, with Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation that had been out of international football action for 8 years until last November , won the first leg of their Qualifying Tournament Preliminary Round tie with Lesotho in Sao Tome.
The match has been notable for several strange occurrences, in that the fixture was firstly moved back a week to allow the Lesotho team a plane ride to the host country of the first leg, while the match itself has not seen many details published (outside of Sao Tome and Principe) other than the result, with most of the (interested) fans and media in the world only knowing that the 1-0 scoreline was achieved by a penalty kick in the first half.
This tie, which will be completed on 22 February with the return leg in Maseru (Lesotho), is the only one being played in the Preliminary Round of Qualification, after Swaziland withdrew from the tournament for ‘financial reasons’, which permitted opponents Seychelles an automatic passage to face Congo DR in the First Round.
In other international football news, Gozo (an island next to Malta) have defeated micronation Raetia (a ‘rebirth’ of a historical province in Central Europe) by a staggering scoreline of 17-1 on Saturday in a friendly in Xewkija (Gozo), in what was only the latter’s second international match (in as many months, with the first being a game in Crawley (England) in December 2011, a 6-1 defeat to Chagos Islands).
However, this match too seems to be lacking in details, even from Gozo’s own local news sources, an oddity considering that the Gozo national team have a sparse history of participation as well. With international football widely considered the pinnacle of the game, how many more unfortunate delays of information will occur in the year ahead?