FIFA.com invites you to relive the final of the 26th edition between Egypt and Cameroon which was held on February 10, 2008, and which saw the Pharaohs retain their title.
Egypt is one of the best African teams, and tops the number of continental crowns with seven CAF African Cups of Nations. The supremacy they established in three consecutive editions between 2006 and 2010 remains forever in the history books and the hearts of Egyptians.
After the fourth continental title of Pharaohs in 1998 in Burkina Faso, under the leadership of the late Mahmoud El Gohary, Egyptian supporters had to wait eight years to return to glory. Hassan Shehata’s men took advantage of the organization on their soil of the 2006 edition to conquer the African throne again. Midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika completed the job with his winning shot against Côte d’Ivoire.
It is sometimes said that it is easier to stay on top than to get there. The Pharaohs demonstrated this in 2008, defeating the unfavorable prognosis. In Ghana, Egypt has achieved an exceptional journey. After a victory against Cameroon (4-2), favorite of the competition, it dominated Sudan (3-0) and finished first in its group following a draw against Zambia (1-1). In the quarterfinals, she disposed of Angola (2-1), before giving a lesson to another favorite, Côte d’Ivoire (4-1).
Aboutrika, hero of a whole people
The Pharaohs opened the way to a new final, against Cameroon, February 10, 2008. This poster reminded millions of viewers of Egypt 1986, where the premises had triumphed on penalties (5-4) after a blank score at the end of extra time.
The title holders were confident against Cameroon after their victory (4-2) in the opening match. For their part, Indomitable Lions wanted to take their revenge and reconnect with their successes of 2000 and 2002. On the pitch, the tension was palpable and it was not until the 77th minute to see an outcome.
At this moment, Cameroonian defender Rigobert Song is pressed by striker Mohamed Zidan, who manages to take the ball from him. Mohamed Aboutrika felt the blow: he made a call at the right time. After receiving Zidan’s pass, he managed to slip the ball into Idriss Kameni’s net, signing the winning goal and again becoming the hero of a jubilant people.
That day, the happiness was total for Egypt since the midfielder Hosny Abd Rabo was named best player of the competition and Essam El Hadary best goalkeeper. Aboutrika, Abd Rabo and Amr Zaky finished second in the scorers standings with Ivorian Abdelkader Keita, behind Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, leading with five goals. The typical team for the competition included no less than five Egyptians, namely Essam El Hadary, Wael Gomaa, Hosny Abd Rabo, Mohamed Aboutrika and Amr Zaky.
Two years after this great success this time in Aboutrika’s absence, the Pharaohs won in Angola a third CAN in a row, a feat unmatched since the competition was created in 1957.