AFCON 2021: Mixed Performances Recorded

Some teams failed to meet expectation, while others came on stronger than ever.

Senegal On The Podium
The town of Bafoussam in the West Region of Cameroon can now beat their chest as pace setters for Senegalese road to glory. After playing host to the Lions of Teranga for about two weeks during which they registered one victory and two draws, the team moved their den to Yaounde for the knock-out stage of competition. Here, they sent Cape Verde parking at the eight-finals, then saw-off Equatorial Guinea at the quarter-finals, humbled Burkina Faso at the semi-finals, before pipping the Pharaohs of Egypt on penalties at the Olembe Stadium to grab Africa’s most prestigious soccer trophy. Sunday’s victory is the first in the Teranga’s soccer history after playing three finals from seventeen participations at the final phase of the competition. The last time they came closed to lift the trophy was in 2019 which they lost 0-1 to the Fennecs of Algeria in Cairo (Egypt).

Egypt Fails To Increase Gap
When the Pharaohs of Egypt made their first outing at the just-ended Africa Nations cup against Nigeria, many thought the team couldn’t go places in the said competition. But with an experience coach like Carlos Quiros, the Egyptians took the bull by the horn, wining match after match at the group stage to emerge second in group D based in Garoua.

With a knock-out ticket in hand, the Pharaohs changed strategy by defending in their own camp and allowing her opponents have possession of the ball at the midfield during the first segment of the game before coming in with counter-attacks during the second half. Though this strategy was nerve-breaking, it however paid-off as the Pharaohs saw off the Elephants of Ivory Coast during penalties, beat the Atlas Lions of Morocco at the quarter-finals before getting a final ticket by beating Cameroon on penalties after an epic soccer fight. At the finals, they Pharaohs were lucky to delay Senegalese’s victory thanks to goalkeeper, Mohammed Gabaski, who has been one of the revelations of the tournament.

Equatorial Guinea, Taste Of Fame
The Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea came to the 2021 AFCON competition with the aim Nzalang of crossing the boarders with the Africa Nations Cup trophy. But though they did not attain their objective because they were eliminated at the quarter-finals, they did upset African soccer history by beating 2019 AFCON champions Algeria 1 – 0 at the group stage of the competition, sent Mali home after penalty shoot outs at the eighth final before crashing on Senegal 3 – 1 after a very interesting soccer game. With a blend of old and new players, the starless Equatorial Guineans squad is a team to watch in the days ahead if well nurtured.

Gambia, The Surprise Candidate
Gambia’s outstanding performance at the 33rd edition of the Africa Nations Cup has sent many sports gurus to go searching on the continental map where the tiny country is located. From underdogs before the start of the competition, the team picked a round two ticket after scoring 7 points. At the knock out phase, they took everyone by surprised again by outpacing Guinea 1-0. Though they stumbled against host country Cameroon 0-2, the players did not only leave the competition with their heads high, but promised to be back in 2023 with more surprises.

Gabon, Towards The Right Direction
After hosting the AFCON cup several times without mounting the podium, the Gabonese National team came to the AFCON competition with the aim of creating surprises. This they did by securi...



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