The African Cup of Nations 2017 was a historic tournament in many ways.
From great goals and late winners to the noise and drama around it, it was indeed a memorable spectacle with Cameroon emerging as Champions for the fifth time.
It was also a tournament that saw many firsts.
Watch everything you need to know about AFCON 2017, in the above video, courtesy of Copa 90’s YouTube channel.
What will be your abiding memory of this year’s tournament?
Vincent Aboubakar scored a late winner as Cameroon came from behind to beat Egypt 2-1 and claim the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday night.
There have been several individuals who stood out over the course of the tournament.
Here’s a look at five players who excelled in this year’s competition.
FABRICE ONDOA – CAMEROON
There’s no doubt that Ondoa will be much sought after this summer. The goalkeeper is currently on loan to Sevilla B from Gimnastic and at just 21, now has a major international trophy under his belt.
He conceded only thrice in the tournament while his best moment came during the penalty shootout against Senegal in the quarter-finals where he denied Liverpool’s Sadio Mane to secure a semi-final berth.
Ondoa was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
AHMED HEGAZY – EGYPT
Before the final against Cameroon, Egypt had conceded just one goal in the tournament and centre-bacl Ahmed Hegazy was a big part of that.
The Al Ahly defender was rock solid in defence. He barely committed any fouls with his surgical style of defending.
The 26-year-old was named in the Team of the Tournament.
CHRISTIAN BASSOGOG – CAMEROON
The lightning quick forward terrorised defenders from the right flank throughout the tournament. His goal against Ghana on the break showed off his immense pace along with a deft finish at the end of his searing run.
The 21-year-old currently plies his trade at Danish club Aalborg BK and will have no shortage of suitors this summer.
Bassogog was named Player of the Tournament.
MOHAMED SALAH – EGYPT
The AS Roma winger was his usual influential self for Egypt. He was integral to his side’s run all the way to the final.
He scored two goals and popped up with two assists as well over the course of the competition. His strike against Burkina Faso in particular will live long in the memory.
The 24-year-old was named in the Team of the Tournament.
BERTRAND TRAORE – BURKINA FASO
Despite having his penalty saved in the shootout that denied Burkina Faso a place in the final, Traore remains one of the best performers in the tournament.
The 21-year-old was a live wire from the flanks and created numerous chances. The forward who is currently at Ajax on loan from Chelsea, scored against Guinea-Bissau to win Group A.
Traore was named in the Team of the Tournament.
The African Cup of Nations is the premier tournament in the continent and pits the best against each other.
It features great quality but is also known for the more comical aspects of the game.
Here, we list five moments from this year’s competition.
THE TIME WASTING GOALKEEPER
During the African Cup of Nations encounter between Senegal and Algeria, Khadim N’Diaye was involved in possibly the strangest act of time wasting we’ve seen.
The incident was even more difficult to absorb given the match had no significance. Algeria were already out of the tournament and Senegal were guaranteed a place in the next round.
As you can see below, the Senegalese’s actions are truly bizarre as he trips himself and then feigns injury.
KICKING FOR TERRITORY
The group match between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau was an absolute cracker.
Cameroon came from behind to win 2-1 as they struck late on to break the hearts of their opponents.
But in the age of social media, the moment that sticks in the minds of many is this kick-off, which resembled rugby more than football.
This simple but sublime piece of skill from Tunisia’s Youssef Msakni delighted spectators.
In their match against Zimbabwe, there was no cooler customer than Msakni. With a player rushing to tackle him, Msakni stood on the ball and let his opponent bypass him and look a little ridiculous.
Youssef Msakni breaking ankles at the AFCON pic.twitter.com/gFGG9nnVTY— GeniusFootball (@GeniusFootball) January 24, 2017
TOGO RALLY ROUND ATTACKED TEAM-MATE
“He was really affected when he heard the news. Whether he wants to play or not, I will respect his decision.”
Those were the words of Togo manager Claude LeRoy after his goalkeeper Kossi Agassa’s house was placed under police protection because ‘fans’ attacked it after their country’s 3-1 loss to Morocco.
“Agassa does not deserve such treatment,” LeRoy added. “We are all supporting him because, after all, football is a game. The solidarity of the team is such that we will find calmer waters and not let ourselves be affected by a small minority in what is a country of peace.”
EL HADARY STARS IN PENALTY SHOOTOUT
Essam El-Hadary was finally beaten in the tournament by Burkina Faso’s Aristide Bance in the semi-finals, ending his incredible run in the African Cup of Nations which stood at 681 minutes without conceding (since 2010).
However, Bance’s strike made it 1-1, taking the encounter into extra-time and El-Hadary went on to become the hero in the penalty shoot-out. With Egypt trailing, he stopped the fourth attempt, taken by the keeper Kouakou Koffi.
El Hadary then saved Bertrand Traore’s effort as well, and celebrated wildly as Egypt qualified for the final.