Egypt worthy winners of disappointing tournament
Unlike previous tournaments, this Africa Cup of Nations was not so much a 'football festival' and far more, it often seemed, a three-week advert for hosts Angola.
After the final, I asked the local organising committee's executive director whether the 2010 Nations Cup would be remembered for the football or the deadly attack on Togo, to which Antonio Mangueira replied 'the football and we had some wonderful fireworks too'.
Fireworks were not going to make anyone forget Cabinda - unless they had happened on the pitch of course which, by and large, they didn't.
Egypt celebrate after becoming African champions for a record seventh time
For football-wise, this tournament will be remembered for Egypt's history-making treble, which confirmed what most fans already knew - that the Pharaohs reign supreme in Africa. And now they add an unprecedented hat-trick to an unrivalled tally of Nations Cup goals, appearances, joint-record participations in the final and, of course, most titles - seven.
To cap it off, the Pharaohs are on the longest unbeaten run in the tournament's 53-year history - these 19 matches now stretching across the 2006, 2008 and now 2010 triumphs. They have also just broken into Fifa's top 10 teams in the world.
Which makes one wonder ever more why Africa's best team will not be at the continent's first World Cup finals, even if I've already voiced my opinion here that Hassan Shehata, who could now claim to be Africa's greatest coach, messed up his tactics in the Algerian play-off.
Egypt's vanquished foes can count themselves incredibly unfortunate to have lost Sunday's final (1-0) - the Ghanaians floored by a late sucker punch from super-sub extraordinaire, Mohamed 'Gedo' Nagy, who didn't start one match in Angola but top-scored with five goals.
Black Stars boss Milovan Rajevac blamed the goal on his young side's desire to find a winner but also acknowledged that these wonderfully-enterprising youngsters - six of whom are 22 and under - were incredibly tactically disciplined otherwise considering their age.
I'll come to them and other World Cup finalists in future blogs but am focussing on Angola 2010 here, where one considerable lack was colour. Indeed, despite the crowds being impressive by historical standards, it was hard to feel any football fever at a tournament famous for it.
In fact, everything felt micro-managed: from the strict security, through the slow media access to the players (laughable at times) to the way Egypt's Mohamed Zidan was physically restrained by a swarm of 10-15 guards as he tried to celebrate near Egypt's fans after Sunday's final?
Most of the fans had only flown in the day before because - this being the crux of the matter - Angola is far too expensive for most long-term visitors to consider.
And book-ended by the attack on the Togo bus - with the pre-tournament tragedy unfortunately revived towards the end - the quality of football on offer was not good enough to distract from Cabinda: and where were the entertainers?
I'd argue that only a handful of games will live in the memory (the truly unforgettable Angola v Mali, Cameroon v Zambia, Algeria v Ivory Coast and Algeria v Egypt) although I did enjoy the tactical final even if others may have found it boring.
Mali came back from four goals down to draw 4-4 with Angola in the opening game
At times, it felt like teams were only advancing - not because they were brilliant, but because one of them had to win out. That said, Egypt, Ghana and Zambia all entertained - and their performances were a credit to their respective coaches (Shehata, Rajevac and Herve Renard).
And what these teams emphasised more than anything was the importance of teamwork, because these sides - Ghanaian Richard Kingson aside - were not about Premier League or European stars. In fact, those that were - the self-destructive Ivorians, Cameroon's very domitable Lions and Nigeria's not-so-super Eagles - were dominated by individuals and poor, if non-existent, pass selection.
And if Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o or Obafemi Martins played for their European sides as they did here, their first-team starts would surely be over.
One man to suffer that fate was former Cameroon skipper Rigobert Song. The dreadlocked defender is remarkable in that until the Group D clash against Tunisia, which he didn't start, he had played every minute of every Cameroonian Nations Cup match since his 1996 debut.
Even if many visitors will largely remember Luanda's infuriating traffic, the ubiquitous din of the builder's hammer and drill as well as Angola's high cost of living, most locals relished opening up their country to the world.
That will be a happy memory: so too Abdelkader Keita's stunning strike against Algeria, which thumped both post and bar on the way in - surely the goal of the tournament.
And this, very simply, is the 2010 Nations Cup XI I'll be remembering:
Goalkeeper: Essam El Hadary
Defence: Samuel Inkoom - Madjid Bougherra - Lee Addy - Emmanuel Mbol
Midfield: Mabina - Kwadwo Asamoah - Ahmed Hassan - Jonathan Pitroipa
Strikers: Flavio - Gedo.
Sub: Arnaud Seka, one of the smallest footballers ever?