14th February 2017. By Danni Biggs
Cameroon, the underdogs during the African Cup of Nations final against the much-fancied Egyptians gave us a truly breathtaking performance where they came from behind to make it their fifth title.
Sunday 5th February saw Cameroon's 15-year long wait came to an end. The Indomitable Lions one of the heavyweight nations beat the 7-time champions Egypt in Libreville, Gabon, despite being beset with pre-tournament problems. In previous finals in 2008 and 1986 Cameroon suffered defeats from Egypt and now meeting again Cameroon were mean to be the underdogs who did indeed put up a thrilling performance which saw them crowned champions with a late goal at two minutes to go until full-time.
Sealing their Fifth African Cup of Nations Title
After being second best to Egypt in previous finals it was Cameroons turn to dominate and sure they did. Match statistics show that the Indomitable Lions completely dominated Egypt across the field despite the Egyptians looking like the much more comfortable team throughout the first half and also first to net a goal. Egypt clearly felt overly comfortable with their first-half performance and simply invited Cameroon to come at them in the second-half, which they sure took advantage of.
Already disrupting the odds to reach the final Cameroon also went on to upset the much-fancied Egyptians as fellow substitute Nkoulou managed to draw them level just before the hour mark. Underdogs Cameroon then came to realize that they had a real fighting chance on becoming champions once again.
The stadium in Gabon's capital, Libreville has a rough capacity of 40,000 and the majority of the fans which packed the ground to the brim supported Cameroon. The support for Cameroon definitely lit up the stadium and clearly gave a positiveÂ influence to the Cameroonian squad.
Cameroon was out in full-force especially once they had bagged their equalizer an hour in. The ever-increasing energetic side tired out the Pharaohs solid-back four, while on the other side of the pitch the depleted Cameroon stubborn backline due to withdrawals kept the attack of the Egyptians under control. The Egypt side began to deteriorate and fatigue began to show, which Cameroon noticed and took advantage of leaving the Egyptians paying a heavy price.
With two minutes to go until the full-time whistle a long ball was put forward to Aboubakar that was finely controlled on the edge of the box and expertly flicked it over Gabr before gathering and smashing it home off his right foot, a worthy goal to win the African Cup of Nations.
Cameroon has dumped one favorite after another throughout this tournament and has been a remarkable run for the Cameroonians. Their next shirt will now feature 5 stars representing their victory of the African Cup of Nations for the fifth time!
Cameroon will Host the Next AFCON in 2019
Now with their first win of the African Cup of Nations for 15 years under their belt Cameroon can look forward to 2019 where they will be the hosts of this iconic football tournament.
Cameroon last hosted the AFCON in 1972, meaning it would be nearly 50 years since they last hosted. After the final vote at the CAF Executive Committee, on September 4th 2014 the CAF announced that Cameroon will be the hosts for the upcoming African Cup of Nations in 2019.
Being hosts it will give Cameroon a good chance to catch up with 7-time champions Egypt, but can The Indomitable Lions do it? Well, with their previous tournament being a major success despite their player pull out crisis where a total of 8 players were unavailable Cameroon still managed to come away as champions.
"These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulation." Said Coach Hugo Broos.
With being the host nation Cameroon will receive support more than any other team, and now we know that they are capable Cameroonian fans and the squad will be confident as they look forward to 2019.
Now with their fifth African Cup of Nations title under their belt Cameroon can now look ahead positively with the World Cup Qualifiers coming their way as well as preparing for the next AFCON.