That's how this Africa Cup of Nations began. And that's how it fittingly ended.
After the first half of the final between Egypt and Cameroon finished 0-0, with Cameroon keeper
And that moment came in the 77th minute, when speedy
That was the
What came next was not surprising. Zidan passed the ball across the top of the box to a late-arriving
This play -- this result -- was inevitable. Even the Ghanaian fans in the stadium, many of whom had become unexpected supporters of the Pharoahs, knew so. So sure were the journalists in the media tribune, we could have drawn it up on a chalkboard like Pele diagramming the prisoners' offense in
(I know, I know. Poor form to mention
So now Egypt are the champions of Africa, back to back, something that hasn't been done since 2000 and 2002 when this same Cameroon side turned the trick. The Pharoahs now have six titles, the most overall.
But all of this success, nice as it is, just raises expectations. Egypt, the consensus giant of Africa, has qualified for the World Cup only twice (in 1934 and 1990). No one's really sure why this is -- but most observers expect 2010 to be a different story.
They point specifically to quixotic coach,
Shehata has had some success on the global stage at the youth levels. Now, he must --
He also know that if this impressive group of players does qualify for South Africa, watch out. They will be a team to contend with. A team that might make everyone in the world say