Egypt won its record sixth African Cup of Nations title, capturing its second championship in a row with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in the final Sunday.
“It is a great feeling to score for the country,” said Aboutreika, who also netted the winning penalty kick in the 2006 title game, against Ivory Coast. “It’s not about me scoring goals, but it’s about all the players and the 80 million people supporting us back home.”
A crucial error by Rigobert Song, the Cameroon captain, led to Aboutreika’s goal. Song had two chances to clear the ball but became tangled with Zidan and lost the ball. Zidan squared it perfectly and Aboutreika finished powerfully into the bottom right corner.
Realizing his error, Song pulled his shirt into his mouth and pointed to the sky. Goalkeeper Carlos Kameni ran over to comfort him.
Egyptians poured into the streets in Cairo and throughout the country waving flags late Sunday to celebrate the victory. In Cairo’s twin city, Giza, crowds wielding flaming aerosol cans flooded the eight-lane Arab League street and brought traffic to a halt.
The Africa Cup of Nations, also referred to as the African Nations Cup (ANC) is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been held every two years.
In 1957 there were only three participating nations: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. South Africa was to compete, but was disqualified due to the apartheid policies of the government then in power. Since then, the tournament has grown, making it necessary to hold a qualifying tournament. The number of participants in the final tournament reached 16 in 1998 (16 teams were to compete in 1996 but Nigeria withdrew, reducing the field to 15), and since then, the format has been unchanged, with the sixteen teams being drawn into four groups of four teams each, with the top two teams of each group advancing to a "knock-out" stage.
Egypt is the most successful nation in the cup's history, winning the tournament a record six times. Ghana and Cameroon have won four titles each. Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament's history, with Ghana and Cameroon winning the first two versions to keep after each of them won a tournament three times. The current trophy was first awarded in 2002.