This past Friday, the Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990. Even though the final was not the desert foxes’s best game, they clearly were the best team of the tournament. Baghdad Bounedjah‘s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years with a fiery 1-0 victory over Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
I would like to salute both coaches. The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was the first time in over 20 years when both finalists were led by African coaches: Algeria by Djamel Belmadi and Senegal by Aliou Cissé. This should be the norm, rather than the exception. Coincidentally, both coaches grew up in the same suburb of Paris, are the same age only separated by one day, and played against each other at youth level. They came head-to-head in a league game between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain in February 2001, and then with their national teams two months later. Again African teams should be led by Africans… No wonder Egypt performed so poorly at the AFCON 2019 (this is the first time, they were not led by a local).
The revelation of this tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals. For their successful performance, their country’s president knighted the whole team.
Overall, AFCON 2019 brought us a lot of joy and tears, and we applaud the winners of this year’s tournament Algeria.