Cheik Tiote and his Ivory Coast team have reached the final of the African Cup of Nations, and for that I’d love to congratulate him!
Ivory Coast beat Mali 1-0 yesterday to reach the final, which will be played against Zambia on Sunday. Tiote played 90 minutes after being rested for the last two games and picked up his customary booking in the 83rd minute.
I now hope they go to win the competition leaving Tiote high on confidence for when he returns to Tyneside. Obviously I’d have preferred it if Ivory Coast bombed out of the competition early doors so we had him back sooner, but it wasn’t to be and he will go the distance with his international team.
Of course his absence has been partially covered by the emergence of Danny Guthrie and James Perch, who have both played well in his absence and have proved to be more than able squad players for Newcastle United.
I can’t help feel that the African Cup of Nations has been kind to us. Realistically both Senegal and Ivory Coast were tipped to do well, but with Senegal being eliminated in the group stages we already have our strikers back at the club. Imagine what it would have been like had it been a Senegal v Ivory Coast final!
Just going back to a point I raised earlier, about Tiote being rested for the last two games. This is good news for us. It means he’s not been put through the mill as much and will have had some time to recharge his batteries. He’ll have even more time on his return as the Premier League halts for another international break straight after the Tottenham game which will mean that we can get Tiote settled back into life at Newcastle United.
Perhaps we’ll be welcoming back a trophy winner next week?