Poor crowds mar showpiece tournament

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African football

The own goals in this year's African Nations' Cup have been off, rather than on, the pitch. Yesterday's 1-0 win for Ivory Coast over Mozambique was watched by just 500 spectators - the latest in a long list of low attendances that have embarrassed the tournament organisers.

It did not help that yesterday's game was played in Port Elizabeth - also the venue for the South African cricket team's latest one-day triumph over England. The turn-out for the football game was some 34,500 below capacity at Boet Erasmus stadium, the home of the Eastern Province rugby side. South African officials want to give schoolchildren free entrance to all remaining matches to boost crowd figures.

On the pitch, Ivory Coast's victory yesterday, earned by a first-half goal from their captain, Joel Tiehi, means they are likely to progress from Group D to the quarter-finals alongside the section leaders, Ghana.

On Saturday, the host nation maintained their 100 per cent record in Group A when the Wolves striker, Mark Williams, struck in the second half to earn a 1-0 win over Angola in Johannesburg. Zambia lead Group B on goal difference from Algeria after a 5-1 rout of Burkina Faso in Bloemfontein.