Egypt defy odds as Cameroon look to set record straight

Egypt are five-time African champions, which means they are the continent’s most successful team but Cameroon with four titles to their name look to set records straight.

Egypt are five-time African champions, which means they are the continent’s most successful team but Cameroon with four titles to their name look to set records straight.

Should the Indomitable Lions win today’s final of the Africa Cup of Nations, they will justifiably be able to lay claim to being Africa ’s most successful football nation.

A win here in Accra , would take Cameroon level with Egypt on five African crowns apiece, yet the Indomitable Lions can justifiably back up those titles with other achievements.

One of just two African countries to have reached the last eight of the World Cup, having done so in 1990, Cameroon are also the only African country to have appeared at five World Cup finals. What’s more? Cameroon has also won Olympic gold, triumphing in dramatic style against Spain at Sydney 2000.

So the only missing fact in that jigsaw from their (Cameroonians’) argument is the bragging right to say no other country has won more Africa Nations Cup titles.

But that could be achieved this evening, if they manage to see off a seemingly more determined and hungrier Egyptian team, which also beat them 4-2 in the opening game of group C at the group stages. Therefore, the Cameroonians go into today’s final on sort of a revenge mission and that puts them under immerse pressure while the Egyptians in one way or another won’t have anything to lose and would very much work in their favor.

Despite being five-time Africa Cup of Nations champions another one four-time champions, few fans of Egypt and Cameroon would have predicted their teams would contest Africa ’s 26th final.

However, in defiance of all that doubt, the Pharaohs are now on the verge of claiming a sixth title with a second successful back-to-back defence while Cameroon should move level on five with a win.

Egypt have made it this far in some style too, with a 4-1 demolition of pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast in Thursday’s semifinals.

Very many of you have talked about Ivory Coast playing well, but for me Egypt have played the best football at this tournament, and I had predicted tem to reach the final with the hosts, Ghana.

The Pharaohs’ success can be attributed to their strong domestic league and the fact that many of the players in the squad are home-based.

The Egyptian league is probably the best domestic league on the continent as that can be evidenced with their clubs dominating CAF club competitions especially the Africa Champions League.

They have proved that you don’t need to play in Europe to be a top quality footballer and in their coach Hassan Shehata, also an Egyptian; they have a man who knows what he wants and how to achieve it.

Shehata in many ways than one has managed to build an exceptional team that is comfortable with the system he employs; they all know their own responsibilities and what to expect from their team-mates.

They are difficult to force to back down while scoring early goals and then hitting opponents with irrefutable counterattacks.

So, expect tem to employ the same tactics as they have done throughout the tournament even though tonight’s game will definitely be much different from the group stage tie.

No team has managed to beat Cameroon twice in the tournament; therefore, Shehata and his players are very much aware of this fact—however, being the team that they are, Egypt have more what it takes to achieve what no one else has managed.

Yet, Cameroon have the incomparable Samuel Eto’o has already made his mark here in Ghana , having broken the record of the highest scorer in Africa Cup of Nations history.

There is definitely no love lost between these two African giants, first there is that small mater of Egypt ‘humiliating’ Cameroon 4-2 in the group stages while three years ago, the

Indomitable Lions failed to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 1990 when they were held 1-1 at home by Egypt in their final qualifying game.

Otto Pfister’s side has been likened, by some football analysts here in Accra to an old Benz that takes long to start but when it does (start), it does, not many can stop it while Egypt have been likened to a new Ferrari.

Such comparisons comes from the fact that Cameroon made a staggering start to the tournament but once they got their rhythm, they have been unstoppable while Egypt have enjoyed a fine tournament right from the word go.

Therefore, it is going to be quite an interesting state of affairs when an old Benz comes up against a new Ferrari this evening—and I am fortunate to watch a game of such magnitude with so much at stake live, thanks to MTN Rwandacel and MTN Ghana.

Ends

ADVERTISEMENT