July 5, 2022

AFCON 2021: Cameroon, Egypt renew rivalry

By Allan Damba
The last time Cameroon played Egypt, the former came out on top in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final | CAF Image

Egypt and Cameroon, who are the two most successful nations will tussle it out with a place in the Africa Cup of Nations final up for grabs on Thursday at the Paul Biya Stadium, Olembe.

While Egypt have accumulated seven winners’ medals in history, hosts Cameroon follow them on five and will fancy a chance of closing that gap.

They last met in the final back in 2017, when Cameroon secured a 2-1 victory, and with 12 titles between them, this game has all the makings of an exciting and nerve-racking contest.

With the home crowd cheering them on, Cameroon have enjoyed a sensational campaign and will feel confident in their chances of reaching a second final in five years.

The Indomitable Lions got the ball rolling on January 9, when they came from behind to beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the tournament’s curtain-raiser before cruising to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Ethiopia four days later.

Having already booked their place in the knockout stages, Cameroon were denied a 100% record in the group stages as they were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Cape Verde side in their final group encounter.

The Central Africans secured smooth passage into the round of 16, where they were drawn against newcomers Comoros who they narrowly beat 2-1.

Cameroon maintained their impressive string of results last time out when they beat debutants Gambia 2-0, thanks to a second-half brace from Karl Toko-Ekambi.

The Indomitable Lions are now unbeaten in each of their last nine outings across all competitions, picking up eight wins and one draw.

On the other hand, while this might not be Egypt’s best performance in the history of the tournament, they will be delighted to have made it this far after several unconvincing performances.

In the first group game, the Pharaohs fell to a 1-0 defeat against Nigeria on January 11 before picking up a 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau and later ousting Sudan by the same scoreline.

In a cagey affair with Ivory Coast at the round of 16, Egypt went through after a 5-4 penalty shootout victory.

Against title favourites Morocco in the quarter-finals, the Pharaohs picked up their biggest result at the tournament as they turned in a performance of the highest quality to come from behind and claim a 2-1 victory in extra time.

The North Africans have scored just four goals in the tournament, but their defensive show of class has played a huge role in their journey so far as they have kept three clean sheets and conceded just two in five games.

Egypt will be without Hamdi Fathi, Akram Tawfik and defender Ahmed Hegazy, who has been pivotal in the campaign thus far.

Having seen the goalkeeping duo of Mohamed El-Shenawy and Mohamed Gabaski come off injured in their last two games, Egypt are left with third-choice Mohamed Sobhy, who made his national team debut in the aforementioned game.

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