The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations trophy will either go Egypt or Senegal’s way after both sides made it to the final slated for Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on Sunday.
However, it’s not the first time that the two countries are reaching the AFCON final, Egypt have been there nine times before compared to Senegal’s two.
Onto reaching their ninth final, the Egyptians equalled Ghana’s tally as the only two nations to achieve the feat in the history of the competition.
But, the Pharaohs have gone a step better than the Black Stars, winning it seven times and losing only twice in nine attempts while the latter have won it only four times going on to lose five finals.
Egypt won the inaugural tournament hosted by Sudan in 1957 when they beat Ethiopia 4-0 in the final. They defended their crown in 1959 as hosts, edging Sudan 2-1 in the final.
Their attempt to win it thrice consecutively fell through when they lost the 1962 final 4-2 in extra-time to Ethiopia at a tournament held in the latter country.
There was a drought of 11 straight tournaments without Egypt in the final until they returned as winners in 1986 in their own land at the expense of Cameroon 5-4 in penalty shootouts, following a goalless draw after extra-time.
It took them another five competitions minus reaching the final, making a comeback in 1998 by beating South Africa 2-0 in Burkina Faso for their fourth AFCON triumph.
The North Africans won their fifth continental crown three tournaments later in 2006 and in their own backyard when they were better than Ivory Coast in the post match penalties 4-2 following a barren stalemate after extra time.
The sixth and seventh would come immediately in 2008 and 2010 when they beat Cameroon 1-0 in Ghana and the latter by the same scoreline in Angola respectively, making them the only nation that has ever won three successive AFCON trophies.
In 2017, it’s when Egypt last featured in the final which they lost 2-1 to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the tournament hosted by Gabon.
On the other hand, Senegal will be playing at their only third AFCON final and will be searching for their maiden winner’s medal.
The Lions of Teranga reached and lost their first final in 2002, they were beaten by this edition’s host Cameroon 3-2 in the shootouts following a 0-0 draw after extra time in Mali.
Current head coach Aliou Cisse was their captain then and was amongst those that missed their spotkicks and his first attempt to win it as coach came in 2019 but they lost 1-0 to Algeria in Egypt.
Who knows this could finally be the time for the Senegalese but the task ahead is against the most successful and recognized nation on the continent, Egypt.