Published On: Mon, Feb 6th, 2017

Cameroon Rule Africa Football Once Again

The Continental (AFRICA) Football Crown is back in the hands of its rightful owners (writes Topi Lyambila). Riding with a young side that many dismissed as not good enough to go all the way, the Lions proved them wrong, growing stronger and swifter with every match. However their true class above the rest manifested in the semi-final when against Ghana they dealt a devastating blow to a previously over-confident Black Stars, showing they were the masters of cool.

Egypt with 7 titles under their belt and a reputation for not losing the final easily may have been silently the pre-tournament favourites and consequently the title faves against Cameroon.

Having scored first the Pharaohs resorted to the game-delaying tactic (they have so mastered), which may well have cost them the match. In any final scoring just one goal early in the game puts a lot of pressure on any team, Egypt failed to realize this and instead begun as early as in the second half applying the age-old tact of delaying with the ball – something that is normally done in the last 1-2 minutes of the game not when the game is just 25 minutes gone. They paid the ultimate price when in the second half, Cameroon’s tactician made a second logistical substitution, which made all the difference.

An injury to defender Adolf Teikeu forced Cameroon into a change in the 31st minute. Nkoulou, who was once his team’s captain but was benched for this tournament, came on in his place. Cameroon made a tactical sub in the 46th minute, with Aboubakar replacing Robert Tambe up top.

Nkoulou fired the Lions level in the 59th minute, following a corner. Egypt cleared the initial cross in, but didn’t do a good job of defending the second ball. Benjamin Moukandjo played a gorgeous cross into the center of the area, and Nkoudou was there to head home.

Vincent Aboubakar hit home in the dying minutes of the final to deny Egypt their eighth AFCON crown in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Ordinarily, the Indomitable Lions would not be considered underdogs, but in this tournament the odds were always stacked against them.

Seven of their leading talents refused to travel to Gabon and take part in the tournament.  Cameroon’s 1990s reputation precedes them years after and this is one tournament that has evaded their dominance since 2002.

Egypt looked like the more likely team to score after that, but pushed too many men forward, and were undone on the counter just two minutes from full time. Aboubacar, who was surprisingly given little game time in this tournament, picked a perfect time to score his first goal.

And he might not score a better goal than this in his whole career. Facing three defenders by himself, he chested down a long ball, played a rainbow flick to himself, and smacked a half-volley into the back of the net.

 

 

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Cameroon Rule Africa Football Once Again
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