Senegal finally have AFCON title to match their continental status, and at the end of the competition, Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy snatched the Best Keeper Award. Mendy showed class at the just ended 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which saw his team Senegal beat Egypt on penalties by 4-2.
The 30-year-old packed away home the lofty award notwithstanding numerous challenges faced throughout the 33rd edition of Africa’s lead football competition, held in Cameroon.
The Chelsea keeper missed Senegal’s first two games in the group stages subsequent to testing positive to Coronavirus.
In spite of the challenges, the former Stade Rennais goalkeeper showed unadulterated supremacy and strength throughout the competition since his introduction against Malawi where he kept a perfect sheet.
Mendy recorded one more spotless sheet against Cape Verde at the Kouekong Omnisport Stadium in the round of 16 where Senegal lowered the Islanders 2-0.
Regardless of yielding in two back to back games against Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso at the quarter finals and the elimination rounds, the gifted goalkeeper kept an exceptionally extolled clean sheet against record seven time African champions, Egypt in the final.
The shot-plug also affirmed his status as FIFA awardes Best Goalkeeper with an indispensable penalty save that prompted Senegal getting its first trophy in the Africa Cup of Nations competition.
Edouard Mendy stopped Mahmad Marwan’s shot before Liverpool’s Sadio Mane fueled in the winner for the West Africans. Mendy crushed tipped top pick, Egypt’s Mohamed Abou Gabal to the 10,000 US Dollars award.
Mendy now enters a list of greats occupied by the likes of Egypt’s Essam El Hadary who won the award multiple times in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
8 years ago, Edouard Mendy was jobless, lining up at a neighborhood job centre and was even prepared to stop football. But he hung tight for this long to welcome such a staggering accomplishment.
He’s now won both the African Cup Of Nations and the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse was extremely happy for his team for making this history.
For Cisse, victory in Cameroon, and against Egypt, the most successful side in the competition’s history, makes triumph even sweeter, and fully confirms Senegal’s standing alongside the continent’s true giants.
“Cameroon is a land of football, so to win the AFCON here is symbolic,” the coach concluded. “To win against Egypt, who have seven titles, is also symbolic.
“I said to my players that today they would write history, by beating Africa’s most decorated team on Cameroonian soil.”
History certainly has been written, and while Senegal’s triumph won’t entirely eclipse the generation of 2002 — of Diao, Diouf, of Bouba Diop — for their pioneering performances, that victory over France, their character and vitality, they’ve certainly given their nation the kind of success story that makes up for two decades of regret and yesteryear’s days of failure.
Senegal takes home $5 Million for winning the trophy.
Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon won the (Golden Boot) as the top scorer, with Sadio Mane of Senegal also winning the Player of the Tournament.