You are here: HomeSports2008 02 10Article 139044

Soccer News of Sunday, 10 February 2008

Source: GNA

Hurray! The Pharaohs rule Africa again!

Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - The Pharaohs of Egypt on Sunday proved the superiority of artistry over brute force in the game of soccer when they piped Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 1-0 to retain the African Nations Cup.

It was a well-deserved victory for the Egyptians in the finals of the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations played at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

The Egyptians displayed one of the best brands of football in the three-week continental soccer fiesta, recording significant victories over heavy weights like Cameroon at the group stage and Cote d'Ivoire in the semi-finals.

The Egyptians, thus become the only country with six Nation's Cup trophies in the drawer with the last two achieved in 2006 and 2008, all under the technical tutelage of coach Hassan Shahata, who thus equalled the achievement of C.K. Gyamfi of Ghana, who won it in 1963 and 1965. While the Pharaohs displayed soccer artistry the Cameroonians opted for power soccer. The Egyptians, therefore, eclipsed them in all the departments of the game.

The Pharaohs, however, had to wait till the 76th minute to find the only goal, even though they dominated the entire game and created chances enough to end the game on a rather huge score line. This was after both sides had battled to a pulsating goalless drawn game in the first half, with the Pharaohs dominating the exchanges and creating more decent chances with both Mohamed Abouterika and Hassan Zakky coming close to scoring in the 20th and 24th minutes, respectively.

Cameroon's head coach, Otto Pfister, however, had his plight worsened when he was compelled to pull out workaholic midfielder Alexander Song, who seemed not to have recovered from the injury he sustained in the game against Ghana to be replaced with Binya Gilles Augustine. As the game progressed, the victory signs on numerous occasions pointed to the North Africans and aided by the indecision of the Cameroonian Captain, Rigobert Song in defence made the Pharaohs to find the opener which eventually became the match winner.

Song failed to make a first time clearance of the ball and this resulted in a tussle with substitute Mohamed Zidan, who even though on the ground, managed to squeeze a pass to unmarked Aboutrika, who placed it into an empty net after gaolie Carlos Idris Kameni was completely beaten.

The Egyptians had earlier come close to scoring on on a number of occasions but were denied by the agility of goalkeeper Kameni, who proved critics wrong with his superlative performance on the day. Kameni was however beaten in the 71st minute but had the goal posts to come to his rescue when Hosny Abdrabou's header from a cross from Aboutrika missed target narrowly.

However, with the intense pressure on the Cameroonians, it was evident that the Egyptians were on the verge of scoring as four successive corner kicks were on each occasion given the needed clearance by the Song-led defensive system.

The 76th minute goal, therefore, came as no surprise even though it looked like a gifted goal to the Egyptians by the undecided Song. The Cameroonians from then struggled in vain to come on level terms after the goal with their lone striker Samuel Eto'O Fils locked up by the Egyptian defence, while his team mates failed to provide him the needed supply to deliver as most of their moves were clipped in the midfield by Hassan Kamel Ahmed.

The well-grilled Egyptian defence throughout the game cut out all additional attempts by Stephane Mbia and overlapping Geremi Njitap. The Egyptian players met the Beninese Referee Coffie Codja's final whistle with wild jubilation.

A colourful display of authentic African culture brought to an end of the most successful African Cup of Nations tournament.

LINE UP: EGYPT: El Hadari Essam, Mohamed Shady, Hany Said, Fathy Ahmed, Hosny Abdrabou, Mohamed Emad,/Mohamed Zidan, Mowad Sayed, Hassan Ahmed, Hassan Zaky Amr/Shawky Mohamed, Gomaa Wael, Mohamed Aboutrika/Saed Ibrahim.

CAMEROON: Carlos Idris Kameni, Bill Tchato, Rigobert Song, Thimothee Atouba, Geremi Njitap, Samnuel Eto'O Fills, Emana Achille/Iddrissou Mamadou, Allian Nkong, Joel Epalle/Modeste Mbami, Alexander Song/Binya Gilles Augsutine, Stephane Mbami.