Egypt beat Cameroon 1-0 in the final of the 2008 African Cup of Nations soccer tournament on Sunday in Accra, Ghana. The win marks Egypt’s record sixth African Cup title, successfully defending the trophy they won on home field in 2006.
After the first half of the match ended scoreless, Cameroon captain Rigobert Song failed to clear a seemingly harmless attack at the 77 minute mark. Egyptian substitute Mohamed Zidan won the ball after a struggle with Song and passed it to a wide-open Mohamed Aboutrika, who scored the game’s only goal.
It is unfortunate that one mistake by Song cost Cameroon the title, but Egypt still deserved the win. Egypt has been impressive throughout the tournament, beating Angola 2-1 in the quarterfinals and beating favorites Côte d’Ivoire 4-1 in the semifinals.
Egypt also beat Cameroon 4-2 earlier during the group stage of the tournament. Egypt went on to win group C, and Cameroon qualified for the next round by placing second in the group.
Host nation and tournament favorite Ghana started the tournament with two unconvincing victories over Guinea and Namibia, but bounced back with notable wins over Morocco in the final group A match and Nigeria in the quarterfinals. Ghana’s run ended in the semifinals, where they lost to Cameroon 1-0. Côte d’Ivoire also won all their group matches and beat Guinea in the quarterfinals, but fell to the eventual champions Egypt in the semifinals.
Ghana then beat Côte d’Ivoire 4-2 on Saturday in the 3rd place match.
Egypt’s second defeat of Cameroon in this tournament and their sixth championship title cements their image as one of the best teams in Africa. Egypt won the first two African Cup of Nations tournaments in 1957 and 1959, and has won three tournaments since 1998. The next African Cup of Nations will be held in Angola in 2010, a few months before South Africa hosts the World Cup.