Masinga on song

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The Independent Online
THE opening game of the African Nations Cup, which got under way in Johannesburg yesterday, may herald a shift in the balance of football power on the continent, with Cameroon, traditional big fish of the African game, beaten 3-0 by the hosts South Africa. Leeds United's Phil Masinga was among the goals in front of an 80,000 crowd.

Disappointment at the absence of the holders Nigeria from the tournament was overwhelmed by the emotion of the occasion - the kick-off was preceded by three hours of singing and dancing and speeches from Nelson Mandela and Fifa's Joao Havelange.

Mandela arrived wearing the No 9 jersey of the South African captain, Neil Tovey. The crowd shouted its approval when he said how young Afrikaners he met earlier wished good luck to the South African side. Football is a largely black sport there.

South Africa dominated throughout, only allowing Cameroon scoring chances after building a three-goal lead. In the 14th minute, Masinga got on the end of a long cross and blasted a shot home, and the home side added to the lead in the 34th and 57th minutes.