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  • Writer's pictureSaurabh Nagpal


After the heartbreak of 2002 and 2019, Senegal finally winning their first AFCON, by defeating the 7-time champions, Egypt, 4-2 on penalties earlier this week in Cameroon is absolutely the thing I loved!

Not allowing the demons of missing a penalty early in the first half, Sadio Mane kept his cool, his calm, his composure, under what would have been mountains of pressure and expectations, as he tucked the decisive penalty past the penalty-saving wizard that Gabaski had proved himself to be throughout the competition. It is telling that the Egyptian goalie won the player of the match in the finals too!

Sadio Mane was adjudged the player of the tournament, but he was only one of the heroes for Senegal. Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Nampalys Mendy, Idrissa Gueye, Ismaila Sarr, Abdou Diallo... the list is long.

A football tournament, which had been surrounded by controversies because of European clubs' eurocentric, selfish attitudes and a horrific tragedy caused by administrative blunders, also showcased to the world the kind of joy sport can provide to a people, a community, a country. One only has to look at the trophy parade images in Senegal's capital, Dakar, for evidence.

Original photo:

Illustration via QniPaint app


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