Jun 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Second Semi Final – Nigeria 2 Cameroon 0

FT/18 comments • 785 views

The big story of this Pop World Cup, it’s been said, has been the exceptional performance of the African teams. Almost half of the quarter finalists, fully half of the semi-finalists, all drawn from Africa. Only one can make it into the final, though: the vagaries of the draw has meant that the great African showdown will take place right now, in the semis. Two unstoppable forces head to head here, Matt DC’s Nigeria, as strong and consistent a team as we’ve seen this time, against the more mercurial opposition of Weston Debevec’s Cameroon. Rivals and neighbours, this match must stand as a celebration of the genuinely great African pop we’ve heard throughout the tournament.

Please note that the time for voting on this match is one day shorter than usual: the semi-finals are timed to end together at midnight on Sunday 6th June

NIGERIA: Sasha ft Dama Do Bling – “Put It Down” The Manager Says: “For a while back there we considered trying to wrong-foot Cameroon with an abrupt change of direction – an acoustic soul ballad perhaps, or one of Nigeria’s many, many excellent 10-minute afrobeat funk workouts. But at this stage it seems wrong to change a winning formation, so instead I’ve instructed them to play even faster. Rave culture has not really impacted upon Naija music to any great extent, but this track from the first lady of Nigerian rap provide a hint of where it could have gone. In the spirit of pan-African collaboration she ropes in Dama Do Bling, from the sadly unqualified Mozambique, and although I’m not sure which lady is which, this song does have an excellent video where they Hadouken one another. Cameroon are an exceptional side with tremendous technique, but if they want to beat us they’ll have to catch us first.”

CAMEROON: Pan-African Cosmic Tone (PACT) – “Da Fulani” The Manager Says: “The farmer stood with the others out on their lawn, watching the recruitment consultant’s house burn down. He leant heavily on his stick, feeling older. A slim rain had begun to fall and a pair of dogs were chasing each other up and down the street, alarmed and aggressive. The fire smacked and howled, scornful and menacing it reared up over them. He turned to the clown and said, Fire is always an anti-Catholic symbol. It’s a bad omen, this fire. He took the packet of biscuits from his pocket and offered it around. You’re right, said the clown. You know, he continued, Just the other day I was speaking to a guy and he told me that he’d accidentally set fire to a Catholic church with the whole congregation inside. That’s terrible! the farmer exclaimed. It is! replied the clown, But this guy didn’t seem to be that upset by it. I asked him why he was grinning at the recollection (which he was) and he said to me, You don’t understand, a Catholic church with the whole congregation inside is the name of my dog!”

Semi Final 2: which track do you prefer?

  • NIGERIA - Sasha ft Dama Do Bling 63%
  • CAMEROON - Pan African Cosmic Tone 37%

Total Voters: 51

Poll closes: 6 Jun 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis Nigeria have found a formula which works and, rather than messing with it, they’re turning up the intensity, and this track seems strong right through the team, and the front pairing have some really sublime spells here. It seems that Cameroon might have to get round the back of Nigeria’s defence to even see the goal, and to do that they’re employing an amazingly fluid style, with players performing all over the pitch. Cameroon have often revelled in a complex, flexible style, and today’s match has a great example of this: their jazz substitute in the last quarter changes their shape completely. Will it be enough to fox the might of Nigeria?

Coming up: you know what comes next: third place play-off which is either (a) lap of honour for the heroic defeated or (b) bathetic display to an uninterested public fixated upon the Big One, depending on how you look at it.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 1 Jun 2010 #

    On the evidence of his press conferences, many of us have begun to suspect that the CAM manager is from another planet. For this match he appears to have fielded a team of Galacticos from another dimension. Their hypnotic play is beguiling in itself but when their sax player materialises they become irresistible. Nigeria put up a valiant fight and may score in the opening exchanges but they appear earth-bound by comparison

  2. 2
    Weston Debevec on 1 Jun 2010 #

    Pan-African Cosmic Tone features Toups Bebey as its principle member. Toups is the son of Francis Bebey, whose track ‘Tumu Pakara’ I chose for my group stage match against Holland. Is this the first father/son combination in the Pop World Cup’s history?

  3. 3
    Matt DC on 1 Jun 2010 #

    Excellent electronic ghost voices in that Cameroon track – deeper and housier than I’d been expecting.

  4. 4
    Birdseed on 1 Jun 2010 #

    Since I love Dama do Bling, and really wish Mozambique was in the competition, I’m so voting Nigeria.

  5. 5
    thefatgit on 1 Jun 2010 #

    I’m so totally voting for Cameroon. I’m reminded of “The Man With The Red Face”, one of my most favourite dance tunes. PACT’s tune IS better than Laurent Garnier’s. And that’s a sentence I would never imagine writing.

  6. 6
    shedders on 1 Jun 2010 #

    Cameroon for me, comfortably.
    Wonder if the big guns played their best remaining cards here?

  7. 7
    lockedintheattic on 2 Jun 2010 #

    For the first time in the contest I’ve been left slightly underwhelmed by Cameroon – even the team talk isn’t up to their usual stratospheric standards. But none of that matters anyway – Nigeria have pulled out all the stops here, and their Mozambiquan guest striker in particular is on spectacular form here. An easy win for Nigeria for me.

  8. 8
    CarsmileSteve on 2 Jun 2010 #

    i’m not really taken by that sax wafting over the CAM track there, much as I really like the groove the track has. NIG just seem to be missing something but i’m not quite sure what… difficult one this…

  9. 9
    koganbot on 3 Jun 2010 #

    Oh, I’m delighted with this match, as much as any since Ghana-Serbia back in the group stage. Nigeria gives us a blazing house on fire – or rave on fire, or kuduro on fire, please excuse my terminological ignorance – drama through the warehouse and into the endless night. Love it. And Cameroon feeds off the same energy but gives it a beautiful lilt, a quasi-subliminal pulse underneath, space music on top, blissful chanting… man, I don’t know… the sax is a bit of a diversion, but the pulse doesn’t let go. I’m in a quandary. Thank you, gentlemen.

  10. 10
    Ben on 4 Jun 2010 #

    The results are in from the Ghanaian jury. Cameroon. Nul points. Victory to our vanquisher, Nigeria here.

  11. 11
    Tracer Hand on 5 Jun 2010 #

    This is a predictably excellent match. Though I wonder if Cameroon don’t push forward until too late in the game..

  12. 12
    jeff w registered on 6 Jun 2010 #

    As Pete and Roger said on the radio show, this is one occasion where you really want the CAM to go on for two, three times the length, to settle into its groove. Still the combination of the traditional melody and the thumping disco/house beat and vocoder interjections is fine and when the track switches from the desert to downtown it becomes even more hypnotic and beguiling. Nigeria are predictably excellent meanwhile – taking an ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ stance. I really wish this was the final. Surely this match is going to extra time and maybe penalties…

    …but wait! Is that a late goal from Cameroon in normal time?

  13. 13
    Tim on 6 Jun 2010 #

    …talking of normal time, this also ends tonight, so get voting!

  14. 14
    Sook on 6 Jun 2010 #

    Impressive footwork from Cameroon, but it seems they spent so much time passing the ball that they forgot to charge the goal.

    Nigeria slips past Cameroon with an aggressive, if artless push.

  15. 15
    Tim on 7 Jun 2010 #

    It’s Nigeria! In a game of contrasting styles, the Cameroon team won many admirers with their close control and intricate patterns but they never really threatened the goal. Matt DC’s Nigeria, on the other hand, were bigger and stronger and had a plan to which their West African neighbours ultimately had no answer. Two almost identical goals, both set pieces taken by their guest winger and smashed in by the head of their giant central defender give Nigeria the coveted Final spot. Cameroon have done themselves proud, though, and the press box is already buzzing in anticipation of Weston’s pre-Third Place Play Off press conference.

  16. 16
    Steve Mannion on 7 Jun 2010 #

    Part of me was hoping I would have been knocked out by the eventual winners of the tournament again (obviously the other part was hoping I wouldn’t be knocked out at all), as I was four years ago. Bad luck Weston but I had to vote Nigeria again and I believe they must go all the way now. No pressure like.

  17. 17
    Matt DC on 7 Jun 2010 #

    Astonishing scenes of jubilation out on the streets of Lagos right now, I’ve never seen anything like it!

  18. 18
    Weston Debevec on 7 Jun 2010 #

    Congratulations to Matt DC and Nigeria. A great track from surely the best team of the tournament so far.

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