Over the past three weeks we have had ample confirmation that the Africa Cup of Nations is a very good tournament. Over the past few days we have had reminders of why it may not become a great one in the near future.
Let us consider the difference, which in many respects lies in experience.
This was the first AFCON I had the pleasure of covering in the flesh. Previously a bit of a sceptic of the tournament - based on my television experience - I found that I grew rather fond of it.
The diversity of the fans reminded me of the enormous breadth of our continent, yet for all their differences there was always a vibrancy that won't be found anywhere else in the world.
There were more than enough classic quotes to ensure that the often dull procedure of press conferences was never boring, even if some went a little too far and descended into complete farce.
And on the pitch there were some wonderful touches of skill that will live long in the memory.
All in all, the Africa Cup of Nations is a truly unique competition that brings enough to the party to equal its supposedly more glamorous European relative for atmosphere.
But only if you are at the tournament.
If instead you are watching it on television, your focus is less on the colourful group of Togo supporters who are playing such a joyous tune on their brass band that it makes up for the empty seats up above, than it is on those empty seats.
And since your field of vision is largely confined to the actual playing field, and the standard of football being played on it, it becomes impossible to ignore the heinous state of the surface and the inevitably sluggish nature of the game.
With almost a quarter of the fixtures being played at the Mbombela Stadium, it would have been all too easy for foreign viewers to maintain their old prejudices and stereotypes about the tournament, which is not exactly fair.
It is also only partly the point since western views of Africa should not be the mark by which the continent is always measured.
More to the point is that African football fans were denied the best football that could possibly be played by the continent's finest, which is surely the object of the whole tournament.
It is CAF's job to make this happen, and so president Issa Hayatou's denials on Friday came as a major disappointment. "It is the colour that is not good at Mbombela, not the surface, the surface of the turf was good," he said.
"A virus attacked the grass before the tournament and the ground staff wanted to fix this colour thing before the games, which saw them putting some chemicals on it that took away the colour.
"But the ball was rolling nicely: the surface of the turf was good, there were no pot holes, and that is why we didn't move the games."
Hayatou was caught dozing by cameras at the Bafana-Morocco game a couple of weeks back, and he must also have been catching a few winks in front of his television during the Nelspruit matches.
Either way, this culture of denial does not serve the best interests of the tournament, and covers up its inadequacies about as well as the green paint that organisers sprayed onto the Mbombela pitch.
And here we come to the main crux of the matter, which is that the biggest issues to arise during the tournament - the dodgy pitch, and the average turnout as a result of poor marketing - are easily blamed on the Local Organising Committee.
Yet this is unfair, since hosting the Africa Cup of Nations cost South Africa around R400million, at the same time that CAF raked in about ten times that amount in television rights.
The LOC could obviously do better, but shelling out extra money on marketing is not necessarily something it can afford to do.
And it's worth noting that there would be no white elephant to maintain in Nelspruit if FIFA did not insist upon such one-sided terms in its arrangements with host nations.
The moral of it all is therefore fairly simple. Football in Africa is alive and well, and it has a worthy new champion whose winner even came from a striker who plies his trade at home on the continent.
The signs are therefore positive, and things are moving in the right direction.
All we need is for CAF, and governing bodies in general, to take more
responsibility for its flagship event so that we can have a tournament that showcases Africa's talent in the way that it deserves.
Only then will it match the level of any other continental showpiece in the world.