The 32nd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019) ended in Egypt on Friday, July 19 2019 with the Desert Foxes of Algeria defeating the Teranga Lions of Senegal 1-0 in the final to win their second title in history of the tournament, and that entertaining match at the Cairo International Stadium summed up an interesting showpiece featuring 24 finest teams on the continent.
Completesports.com highlights below, more three takeaways from the AFON 2019 which African football aficionados can talk up while looking at the future, especially
as the qualifiers for the 2021 edition in Cameroon beckons.
By Martins Obiweluozo
1. ‘Football Not Mathematics’ Gains More Weight
‘Football is not mathematics’: This popular saying was give more credence during the AFCON 2019 competition.
Teams like Morocco lost to Benin Republic while Egypt was shocked
by the less fancied South Africa side leading to the Pharaohs’ fans’ support for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Ghana’s inability to beat a Benin Republic side led by Stephane
Sessegnon earlier in a Group F match that ended 2-2 was also another memorable story of AFCON 2019.
There was also Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to debutants Barea of Madagascar which nearly cost Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr his job. The German however got redemption with the subsequent wins against Cameroon and South Africa, as well as the bronze medal match victory over the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.
2. Spirit Of Sportsmanship Reigns Supreme
Demonstrating spirit of sportsmanship is a welcome development especially in African football. Teams like Madagascar were given a heroic welcome back home. They didn’t win any medal, but they impressed enough as AFCON finals debutants and their country was enveloped with enough spirit of sportsmanship to celebrate their Quarterfinal feat. President Andry Rajoelina gave the Barea players and officials top award – the Knight of Malagasy National Order.
Spirit of sportsmanship was on display as Madagascar President was spotted watching the AFCON 2019 at the match venues and exchanging pleasantries with people.
The Teranga Lions of Senegal who were the losing finalists, on their own, were given a massive reception back home.
Despite defeat to Algeria, the fans trooped out in numbers to welcome
their AFCON representatives. Stars like Gana Gueye, Cheick Kouyate
and former AC Milan forward Mbaye Niang were received with joy as fans
took selfies with their ‘heroes’.
3. Well-Deserved Champions Algeria On The Throne
The AFCON 2019 tournament produced a lot of quality moments as teams like
Mali, Ivory Coast, and Senegal had their moments on the pitch.
Nigeria also had remarkable moments as they progressed to win the bronze. Host nation Egypt showed promise in Group A winning all their matches before they were shocked by South Africa 1-0 in the Round of 16.
But it’s Algeria that made the most memorable and lasting impression winning every game in the tournament with their classy showing and fluency in the final third.
The dersert Foxes beat Kenya 2-0, pipped Senegal 1-0 and Tanzania 3-0 in Group C. Then they beat Guinea 3-0 (Round of 16), edged out Cote d’Ivoire 4-3 on penalties after 1-1 inside regulation time/extra time (Quarterfinals), beat Nigeria 2-1 (Semifinals).
The Djamel Belmadi’s men were already hot favourite to win the final against Senegal, and they didn’t disappoint. They beat the Teranga Lions 1-0 (the second time in the competition) to lift the trophy.
It was a tournament won in spectacular fashion – without losing a match.