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Friday, February 3, 2023

2021 AFCON Final: It’s Salah vs Mane 

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Liverpool’s forward duo, Mohammed Salah of Egypt and Sadio Mane of Senegal are set to challenge each other for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy on Sunday, February 6, 2022, at the Olembe Stadium, Cameroon.

Salah’s Pharaohs avenged a 2017 final loss to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon by beating the tournament host via penalty shootouts on Thursday night to book a place in the final in the chase for a record eight AFCON title. Showmax is streaming the game live and in HD, courtesy of SuperSport. 

Mane’s Teranga Lions secured a consecutive AFCON final following a 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso on Wednesday night and they will be hoping to rebound from a 0-1 final loss to Algeria at the 2019 edition which was held in Egypt. 

Read Also: AFCON 2021: The Stats as Cameroon do battle with Egypt

The Pharaohs of Egypt who lost 1-0 to Nigeria in their AFCON 2021 opener, beat host Cameroon 3-1 on penalties on Thursday night in front of 24,371 fans in the 60,000-seat venue to qualify for their 10th AFCON final and second in the last three editions of the tournament.

Both forwards have established a bond at the club level and have become a mainstay in Jurgen Klopp’s starting eleven and winning the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA World Club Cup together with the Reds.

Mane believes that his countrymen will benefit from the 2019 experience to emerge victorious on Sunday in their bid to lift the AFCON trophy for the first time. “Experience is a good asset,” Mane said. He added, “We played a final last time, so we have experience and we will try to win this trophy.”

Salah has never hidden his desire to lift the AFCON trophy, he said “Of course, I want to win something with the national team. It’s my country, which I love the most. This trophy for me, would be completely different, would be the closest one to my heart.”

Will Salah be the stumbling block to Mane’s dream of leading the Lions of Teranga to their first AFCON title, or will the Pharaohs let them go? Is Mane going to pause the Pharaohs’ anticipated victory dance from a record eighth AFCON title? We’ll find out on Sunday if Egypt’s assistant coach Diaa al-Sayed’s request for a reschedule of the match to Monday is not granted by CAF.

The Sunday encounter is a game many football fans across the continent and beyond will be looking forward to. Some pundits have tagged it the battle of the Reds, while some said it is the battle of frenemies.

Nigerian football enthusiasts can catch the action live on SuperSport Select 2 (which is currently named SuperSport AFCON, GOtv Channel 34), Showmax Pro.

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