The Indomitable Lions are the kings of Africa. In the absence of some of their big name players, they defied all odds to emerge champions. While Joel Matip was losing with Liverpool at Hull City, the team he rejected were winning the AFCON in Gabon. We go through the tournament picking our impressive players who make up our XI of the tournament in a 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper; Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon)
The young Sevilla B goalkeeper is one of those that defines this Indomitable Lions team that defied all odds to win the AFCON. The 21 years old shot-stopper has not made any appearance for the Sevilla B team this season but his performances at the tournament suggest otherwise. His high point was saving Sadio Mane’s penalty in the shoot-out after shutting out the Senegalese in normal time to help the Cameroonians reach the semi-final.
Right Back; Collins Fai (Cameroon)
The duminitive right back did not feature in the first match, came into the side for their second group clash and was ever present from then on. The standard Liege defender was solid defensively and a useful attacking outlet. With Fai, the Cameroonians can afford to call Allain Nyom’s bluff anytime.
Left Back; Ahmed Fathi (Egypt)
One of the few survivors of the victorious Pharaohs at the 2010 tournament, the 32 years old was ever present in the Pharaoh’s run. The utility player played at right back, left back and central midfield during the tournament. The Al Ahly player brought his experience to bear.
Center-back; Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui
The performances of the Slavia Prague defender alongside his partner, Adolphe Tekeu makes one wonder if the team needed Joel Matip in the first place. Sturdy defensively, he also contributed two goals in the Indomitable Lions run to the title.
Center-back; Ahmed Hegazy
The Al Alhy defender marshaled the Pharaohs defence with aplomb. The team did not concede any goal till the semi-final, the 26 years old reminds one of veteran, Wael Goma. Not even the Ghanaians could dance their way past him during the group stage.
Center-midfield; Daniel Amartey
The young Leicester City midfielder was ever present in the Black stars team, sometimes filling in at center-back. The 22 years old was one of the better performers on the field of play in the Ghana’s dance troop.
Center-midfield right; Keita Balde
The Lazio midfielder and his Senegalese teammates could not go beyond the quarter-finals but showed the continent enough of his abilities in his short stay. Balde was the creative clog in the Teranaga Lions impressive start to the tournamnet, that made many to predict them as early tournament favorites. If not for Mane’s desire to return to Liverpool-Mane f.c. quickly, we could have seen more of him at the tournament.
Center-midfield left; Mubarak Wakasso
With an impressive mix of pace, power and creativity, the Granada midfielder was at the center of the Black stars creativity in the midfield. Though aliitle over-aggresive at times, he epitomised the hardwork the Black Stars have become synonymous with recently, apart from entertaining us with dance performances.
Left wing forward; Junior Kabananga
Tournament’s top-scorer, Kabananga scored three times in four matches. The Congolese caught the eye with his impressive goal-scoring displays, covering for the absence of Yannick Bolasie.
Center forward; Christian Bassagog
Player of the tournament, The Aab of Denmark player played mostly as a left wing forward for the Indomitable Lions. He scored the goal that nailed the Black stars at the semi-final stage. The 21 years old was at the heart of the Lions attacking plays during the tournament. Little known before the tournament, his all-round play was a delight to watch.
Right wing forward; Mohammed Salah
The Roma winger started the tournament on a slow note but kicked into gear later on. He scored the goal that confirmed the Pharaoh’s place in the quarter-final, he also scored another in the semi-final to help the Pharaohs reach the final.
Substitutes; Essam El-Hadary(Egypt), Harrison Afful (Ghana), Adolphe Teikeu (Cameroon), Bakary Kone (Burkina Faso), Prejuce Nakoulma (Burkina Faso), Sebastien Siani (Cameroon), Andre Ayew (Ghana), Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso), Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso)