Substitute striker Vincent Aboubakar produced a late moment of brilliance to hand Egypt their first finals heartbreak in fifty-five years at the Stade de l’amitie in Libreville on Sunday evening.
It was a game that two substitutes combined to win it for the Indomitable Lions.
Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny put Egypt ahead with a sublime finish in the 22nd minute beating goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa from an acute angle but another substitute Nicolas Nkolou who replaced injured Adolphe Teikeu got the equalizing goal for Hugo Broos’ side thanks to his 59th minute powerful header rising above Ahmed Hegazy to head the ball past goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary.
The Nkoulou equalizer invigorated the Lions further as they dominated play and would finally be rewarded with a late winner from Porto striker who maintained a great composure in the Egypt box to smash home the match winning goal that landed Cameroon’s fifth AFCON title as Mohamed Salah and his colleagues choked during the deeper ends of the game.
The central African country showed big game character, great fighting spirit and rightly deserve the Victory. They conceded first but fought back to equalized and they still wanted more and Aboubakar will eventually give them more.
The performance of the North Africans in the second half was particularly ordinary as they failed to create any dangerous football and Roma star Salah was the biggest culprit.
Full effort is full Victory. Cameroon had won four Nations Cup titles before but this Gabon 2017 triumph is even more special because it was snatched from the hands of the most successful team of the competition something that great footballers of the nation in the likes of Thomas Nkono, Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Rigobert Song could not do when they met Egypt in the AFCON finals in 1986 and 2010.
And when the Cameroonian crowd at the stade de l’Amitie jubilated strongly alongside the 23 heroes, I could see that where there is unity there is Victory with coach Hugo saying that he did not only select 23 players but 23 friends.
As host nation for the 2019 edition of the AFCON, Cameroon with 5 titles now have greater chance to further bridge the gap between them and Egypt who have 7 honors.
Follow Gariba Raubil on twitter @GRAUBIL