Keep it quiet but there is a sense Equatorial Guinea is pulling it off

In November Mongomo’s stadium looked like being mothballed, but 10 weeks on it stands complete and has just hosted two Group C matches to packed houses
• Talking points: From dictators to Doncaster

Hotel Afkoakam does not look especially prepossessing. It is a compact, rectangular, dark red structure but as Algeria’s players file out of the lobby it is easy to see why the Africa Cup of Nations’ favourites have few complaints about the manner in which they are being kept.

Two six-tier chandeliers hang from the ceiling and staff at the entrance are polite and deferential to a fault. Media are allowed no further but in fact it is a novelty to anyone that this place is open for business at all: usually its doors are closed to most apart from its owner, Constancia Obiang, the first lady of Equatorial Guinea, and her entourage. Opposite the hotel is a fenced-off set of squat, beige buildings that are under heavy guard. Among them is the house in which Obiang Nguema, the country’s president, was born.

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