The D-day is here. After one month of football anxiety, a winner will eventually emerge in the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
All roads will lead to Olembe Stadium, Yaounde, this evening, as two African best footballers of this generation, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will lead two opposing teams in the final.
Salah and Mane are both teammates and friends in England, where they ply their soccer trade with Liverpool. But their bond of friendship may be put aside for 90 minutes this evening.
Egyptian striker, Salah, thinks he needs the trophy more than Mane and his Senegalese squad.
He said the AFCON title is now the most elusive in his football career, and has expressed his desire to grab it today in Yaounde.
Aside the FIFA World Cup and AFCON title, Salah has won all, which included the English Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool FC.
The Egyptian still feels empty since he is yet to win the AFCON.
Salah, who recently got shortlisted by FIFA among the three best footballers in the world, had opportunity of lifting the AFCON trophy in 2017, when Gabon hosted the tournament. The Pharaohs got to the final only to lose the trophy to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Two years later in 2019, when Egypt hosted the tournament, Salah and ‘the gang’ were bundled out by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana right in front of their home spectators at the Cairo International Stadium in the Round of 16.
This time, Salah believes the opportunity won’t pass him by.
Though, the Egyptian is expecting a big fight from his friend, the Senegalese and his teammates. He said: “It won’t be an easy task for us, but we will win.”
The Pharaohs of Egypt are the most stretched teams in Cameroon. After losing to the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Group D opening fixture in Garoau on January 11, The Pharaohs marched on to the knockout stage, where they overcame one of the tournament favourites, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on penalties. The Pharaohs again triumphed over the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in an all North African derby, before outscoring the hosts on another excruciating penalty shootout on Thursday en route to today’s final.