TODAY’S AFCON FINAL: Expert, Dele Ologbese x-ray Egypt vs Senegal

EGYPT CRUISE INTO AFCON’S FINALS AT HOST EXPENSE TO MEET SENEGAL

By: Otunba Dele Ologbese (a Sports Expert in Ondo State)

The dream of Indomitable Lions of Cameroon lifting Afcon’s tittle six record times suffered chequered disaster after it was beaten 3-1 by Egypt’s Pharaohs in penalty shout-outs on Thursday.

The even and energy sapping match, played at Olembe Stadium, Younde in Cameroon ended in barren 0-0 draw after 120 minutes of both regulation and extra time.

Both teams played cautiously throughout the proceedings with notable flashes which yielded no dividend. In ball possessions and other statistics the host nation, Cameroon was outstanding.

The hero of the highly impressive encounter was Egyptian’s goalkeeper, Gabaski who saved two penalty kicks. In view of his extraordinary performances in the tournament especially during Egypt/Ivory Coast duel at Quarter Finals, Gabaski was named as best Goalkeeper of 33rd Afcon by CAF.

The highly scintillating encounter witnessed heartbreaking tensions in both teams benches resulted in Egyptian Gaffer’s Carlos Queiroz red carded by the strict Gambian referee, Bakary Gassama for certain unprofessional misconducts at sidelines. Egypt’s Assistant Coach and former Orlando Pirates gaffer, Roger De Sa was also given yellow card which precipitated consistent protests by Egyptian officials and players. It should be recalled that Egypt’s Head Coach, Carlos had been highly critical of Gambia’s referee from tournament’s onset!.

For the record, Egypt and Cameroon came thus far into this stage of the glamorous and money spinning competition as most successful teams having secured Afcon’s tittles seven and five times respectively. This intimidating records were aptly demonstrated in the technical and tactical depths of their plays throughout the proceedings. Both teams displayed exceedingly soccer artistries to admirations of stakeholders as high class performers.

The mammoth crowd at Olembe Stadium, Younde, venue of the highly exciting tie was unprecedented. In defiance of COVID- 19 protocols or guidelines provided by CAF, the expanse Olembe Stadium was jam-packed with ardent fans and supporters who thronged the expanse venue in their thousands to give massive support to their darling team. Unfortunately, the highly desperate and ambitious Egyptians were not in any way dismayed or detracted by the unfriendly frenzied atmospheres including idiosyncrasies of local fans who rained uncomplimentary tirades on the players!.

With its win against the highly motivated and impressive Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Thursday’s evening, Egypt are billed to meet Senegal in the finals on Sunday at Olembe Stadium, Younde, Cameroon’s Capital at 2pm GMT.

At the finals, it would be a rare opportunity for Liverpool’s long time teammates and friends, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Mohammed Sallah’s Egypt to confront each others.

Afcon’s finals is now a battle royale between North and West African teams which had been the usual norm in most Afcon’s finals. In 2019 edition, the finals featured Senegal and Algeria which was eventually won by the latter.