By Anashe Murombedzi
THE first Africa Cup of Nations tournament to be played in Cameroon since 1972 saw Senegalese talisman Sadio Mane guiding his nation to its first-ever title, scoring the decisive penalty kick to deny 7-time champions, Egypt.
Senegalese fans clad in national colours celebrated their AFCON title at Olembe Stadium in Cameroon last night after Aliou Cisse’s men defeated Egypt 4-2 on penalties in the final, with talisman and player of the tournament, Sadio Mane netting the decisive kick.
The Liverpool forward, Mane had missed a penalty kick early in the final, but he was the hero for The Lions of Teranga at the end.
As Sadio Mane celebrated the title and also clinched the player of the tournament award, it was a different story for his Liverpool team-mate, Mohamed Salah, as lady luck did not smile at his Egyptian team, once again, having managed to come out victorious in their three knock-out games at the tournament against Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco and Cameroon.
Meanwhile, Senegal and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy was named as the goalkeeper of the tournament after keeping five clean sheets in Cameroon.
To the crown, Mendy beat Egypt goalkeeper, Mohamed Abou Gabal who saved two penalty kicks in the final and was named man of the match.
Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar claimed the Golden Boot with his eight goals for the Indomitable Lions, who made it all the way to the semi-finals before being knocked out on penalties by the Pharaohs.
While the Lions of Teranga will celebrate finally winning the tournament after waiting for 60 years, Egypt will soon have a chance to revenge, with the two sides meeting again next month in a two-legged play-off for a spot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.