Can Cameroon end Egypt's dominance at the African Nations Cup final?
Posted: 5 February 2017 Time: 18:56
The 31st edition of the AFCON final will pit two of the three most successful nations in this tournament against one another, with Cameroon seeking to bring to an end Egypt’s intimidating dominance.
As seven-time champions, the Pharaohs are also undefeated in 24 games at the African Nations Cup, stretching back 13 years.
Since losing to Algeria in the group stages on January 29, 2004, Egypt have gone unbeaten at this biennial showcase and have also won it outright on the last three occasions that they have been involved [2006, 2008 and 2010].
During this period, they have played 24 games, winning 18 and playing out draws in six.
Such has been the North Africans’ supremacy in this competition that they have won seven of the eight finals they have played in, and have come out as winners on both occasions that they have met Cameroon in the final (1986 and 2008).
The Indomitable Lions, meanwhile, have won the competition four times, been to six finals and eight semi-finals, while Egypt have won it a record seven times, been in eight finals and 14 semi-finals.
The Pharaohs are making their 23rd appearance at this tournament while Cameroon are at their 18th competition.
Painful memories arise for Cameroon upon mention of the last time they played in a final as Rigobert Song clumsily failed to deal with Mohamed Zidan, who then laid off for Mohamed Aboutrika to score the winner.
The Indomitable Lions were also penalty shoot-out losers against the same opponents in the 1986 final.
Egypt are now in their ninth final and Ahmed Hassan is the only player to have played in four finals and won on all occasions – a record that fellow countryman Essam El Hadary will also achieve if the Pharaohs win tonight.
They have also qualified for this tournament a record 23 times, playing 90 matches from which they have recorded 54 wins and scored 154 goals.
Since the introduction of a 16-team final tournament, Egypt are the only team to have won all six matches at a single championship, in 2010.
Tonight’s decider at the Stade de l’Amitie here in Libreville kicks off at 21h00 SA time and is the second decider being played at this stadium after Zambia won the 2012 edition at the same venue.
By Lovemore Moyo in Gabon, courtesy of SuperSport