Matt's Crow Country: Don't tar all of Africa with the same brush after Cup of Nations tragedy

PUBLISHED: 09:31 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 11 May 2010

THE African Football Cup of Nations is one of my favourite sporting events. Brilliant goals, noisy crowds, and kamikaze goalkeepers are usually in abundance during the Championships, making for captivating viewing, as epitomised in the opening match when

THE African Football Cup of Nations is one of my favourite sporting events.

Brilliant goals, noisy crowds, and kamikaze goalkeepers are usually in abundance during the Championships, making for captivating viewing, as epitomised in the opening match when Mali fought back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with hosts Angola.

So I was saddened to see the beginning of this year's tournament overshadowed by the deaths of three members of the Togolese party, who were attacked by gunmen last week.

This was a tragedy and one can only hope the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.

But I found it slightly distasteful that there were suggestions that the incident might affect South Africa's ability to host this summer's world cup.

A lot of people seem to have the tendency to group all the African countries together as one homogenous lump, as if they are all the same nation.

This couldn't be further from the truth, and while South Africa may have its own issues of security, it cannot be expected to take responsibility for the problems of a separate country.

As Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the World Cup organising committee said over the weekend: "If there is a war in Kosovo and a World Cup in Germany, no one asks if the World Cup can go on in Germany, everyone understands the war in Kosovo is a war in Kosovo."

South Africa was deemed trustworthy enough to be selected to hold the World Cup in the first place, and this incident should not change that in any way.

I hope we have an arts festival in Royston this year.

As reported in The Crow last week, the festival committee are on the look out for new volunteers to ensure the event goes ahead in 2010.

I know a lot of people have enjoyed the various activities put on by the arts festival organisers in the past three years, so it would be nice to see some of those folks come forward and help with the running of what is a very important community event.

A last word on the snow, which as I type (Monday) seems to be bidding a hasty retreat.

I was surprised to see that today First Capital Connect are STILL running an "emergency" timetable between Royston and London King's Cross.

Now given that we haven't had significant snowfall for more than a week, I find it amazing that this is necessary.

I realise the cold weather must make things difficult for the train operator, but you would have thought that by now they would have got things back to normal. Now they no longer have the snow excuse to fall back on, lets hope the timetable will be back to normal asap!

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