Clive –

The group stages of the Orange AFCON 2012 Cup of Nations continued in earnest this past weekend as favourites Ghana, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, co-hosts Equilateral Guinea and Gabon look to have made it through the qualifying stages.

Both Southern neighbours Angola and Zambia have four points from two games and look the best outsiders in the tournament.

 In all major tournaments there are always upsets and both Senegal and Morocco will look to find alternative border posts to go through, as the supporters of both countries will be waiting to welcome their teams with most likely more boos than cheers.

 Botswana got a thumping when they lost to Guinea 6-1. This record rout of ten men gave Guinea an outside chance of qualifying. Ghanaian star striker Asamoah Gyan opened the scoring for the Black Stars when he scored with a well taken free-kick from the edge of the Mali 18 yard area.

Andrew Ayew added a second when he fired in an unstoppable shot that beat Mali goal keeper Soumalla Dlakite to make the score 2-0. Gyan looks the in-form striker at present in the tournament where the focus has been on goals.

Locally the countdown to the start of the ABSA Premiership second round is drawing nearer. The goalkeeping coaches are busy working their charges, and no one works harder than AmaZulu’s Graham Johnson.

 Graham started as a junior at Hillary FC and moved onto play for Durban United as a left-winger/midfielder. He ended up his playing career with Durban City as a goalkeeper.

Both Graham and his brother Grant Johnson have coached Bafana Bafana during their careers.

He rates the legendary Arthur Lightining, Wade Du Plessis, Grant Johnson, Patson Banda, Dave Watterson, Alan Watt and Mino Coppola as the best local goalkeepers that he has coached /played against.

Internationally he has mentored Orwin Castel (Mauritius), Mbongeni Mzimela (Bafana Bafana), Tapuwa Kapini (Zimbabwe) and Kalilio Kakonje (Zambia). At present there are four international goalkeepers being taught by the likeable coach at AmaZulu.

He feels that the biggest change in the goalkeeping department is that today’s keepers have an advantage in that they now get specialized training.

 Like many talented people his other claim to fame was to be a drummer in his famous band called Step by Step. The international bands of that era were the Beetles and the Rolling Stones, tough opposition for Step by Step.

Thank goodness common sense prevailed, and Graham used his brains to trade his drumsticks for his trusted left foot. He is really accurate and strokes the ball better than Eric Cantona of Manchester United fame.

Ten goals conceded in 15 matches this season in the league proves that Graham is doing very well.

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