06 - 02
Going into the tournament, Cameroon were underdogs, and they were not really expected to progress far, given all the troubles that had beset them; in the end however, they have shattered everyone’s expectations and won the Africa Cup of Nations.
In the final, they were up against Egypt, and on paper, it seemed like the tournament’s was Egypt’s, 7-time winners of AFCON.
Before their victory at AFCON 2017, Cameroon had won the tournament four times, the last time being 2002; Egypt’s last victory was in 2010. On the FIFA rankings, Egypt was placed higher (35) than Cameroon (62).
Furthermore, the tally of the meets between the two showed Egypt to be the stronger team in the finals, as the Pharaohs have dispatched the Indomitable Lions on the two occasions they’ve met in the finals.
Egypt’s Mohammed Elneny scored in the 22nd minute, and it was more than half an hour before Cameroon could find an equalizer.
While Cameroon dominated possession, the game seemed like a done deal until two super substitutes took to the field, injecting much vigor into the game.
Nicolas N’Koulou entered the pitch in the 31st minute as Adolphe Teikeu’s sub, and in the 59th minute scored Cameroon’s equalizer.
Vincent Aboubakar, who substituted Ndip Tambe, scored the winning goal in the 88th minute, delivering a shot into the bottom right corner. The celebrations that followed were slightly dampened by the yellow card slapped on Aboubakar, for “excessive celebrations”.
Five minutes of extra time were added, and they were intense: three yellow cards had been issued, 2 for Cameroon, 1 for Egypt.
Cameroon’s win is more remarkable considering the upset the team had suffered before it was assembled; 8 of its most experienced first XI players chose their European clubs over their country, leaving the technical team with a small pool of highly experienced players.