Has it lost its spark?

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There was a time when I would quite happily watch any football going, be it down the park, non-league football, foreign football, the lot.

I once caused a family argument as a youngster because I was desperate to get home to watch Russia play Denmark in some meaningless friendly.

And all of that still applies, but for one: the Africa Cup of Nations. I used to quite enjoy tuning in to ITV to watch the splattering of Premier League stars of past and present showing off against quite simply amateur opponents.

This year I was all geared up to do the same. I watched a few minutes of one of the opening games, I can’t even remember who it was now, but that was enough for me. It wasn’t the droning sound of any vuvuzelas, or the uninsightful stating the obvious commentary that did it, but the sheer mediocrity of the match.

Now I’ve never turned on the telly in expectation of a masterclass, but watching stray pass after stray pass gave me no confidence it would ever improve.

With some of the game’s big names missing or retired in recent years it may have lost its spark. I think that’s the main problem. It’s easier to lose affiliation to a tournament like ACN, if your club, or league has a poor representation in it. I know there is a fairly large group of English-based players over there, but they’re still trying to make a name for themselves on these shores, and like a said before is it really a big enough attraction for the average fan?

Several years ago the team I support, but won’t mention for fear of lifetime ridicule, had more than half their team playing for the tournament’s big guns, well it seemed like that anyway. It was easier to be interested when they were making the headlines.

Because of a FIFA rule change it has been staged for the first time in an odd year this year, having also taken place last January. It’s done so to ensure it doesn’t clash with World Cups in the future. A wise move. But having two in the space of 12 months is like having a spicy curry, it’s nice every once in a while, but too often and you’re in trouble.

Having done a bit of research Nigeria and Burkina Faso are through to the final, and good luck to them, but I won’t be watching. It’s not a boycott, but I’m not keen on the idea of wasting my time.

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