Cameroon rose again after years of underachievement to win the African Cup of Nations title on Sunday with a fabulous goal in the 89th minute of the final for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against mighty Egypt.
As the final whistle got nearer, substitute Vincent Aboubakar controlled the ball just outside the area, clipped it over a defender, and then shot past the goalkeeper to clinch Cameroon’s fifth African title and first since 2002.
“I cannot describe it. I know it was a wonderful goal. It was a great goal. It was the goal that gave us victory,” said Cameroon striker Robert Tambe, the player who was taken off to make way for Aboubakar. “We feel so much joy. We say thanks to Aboubakar.”
Egypt led through Mohamed el-Neny’s goal in the 22nd minute but Cameroon’s substitutes came to the rescue at Stade de l’Amitie as defender Nicolas Nkoulou, off the bench early after an injury to Adolphe Teikeu, equalized with a header in the 60th minute.
Aboubakar, the halftime super sub, completed the rally. Cameroon, already chosen to host the next Cup of Nations, will be defending champion for the 2019 tournament.
Aboubakar’s celebration saw him sprint across the field toward the VIP section, in the process flattening a member of the Cameroon coaching staff who raced out to try and hug him. The big striker was determined to get close to the VIP area to deliver a message. As he approached the enclosure, he stretched out both his arms and pointed to where Cameroon great Samuel Eto’o, one of the African Cup winners in 2002, stood celebrating the goal as a spectator.
The message was: We are back. We are champions again. We’ve done what you did.