/ Jimmy's Corner: Egypt Kings of Africa: WE ARE CHAMPIONS!

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Saturday, February 11, 2006 

Egypt Kings of Africa: WE ARE CHAMPIONS!

A story of devotion and success:

I had a doubt that one day I will blog with this title. Egyptian national team looked so weak in the pre-championship preparations. I say I did not even imagine that we will pass to the quarter finals. But, the lads on the pitch proved me wrong... and I am very happy they did. They had a great desire to win, great devotion to the colors they wear and magnificent commitment to what their goal: the cup. They almost killed themselves over every ball, showing great constant performance and playing for one sole end which is to win. With this great spirit, they united the Egyptians around them and finally they won the cup.

The Pharaohs hold the cup!

The African Cup of Nations is the third strongest football (soccer) championship in the world. It has been the Egyptians' dream to win this cup for the fifth time to be the first country to achieve this record. The job was hard on the lads as they fell in the very strong Group A with Cote D'Iviore that won Egypt home and away in 2005 and Morroco whose very strong team willing to make up for their failure to qualify to the World Cup Germany 2006. But the Egyptians deservedly came on top with two wins and a draw. Then it made its way to the final clear like a whistle.

In the final match against its new football rival Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt had no choice but to win to avenge its home and away losses to Cote D'Ivoire in the World Cup qualifiers. It was a very exciting game as both teams wanted nothing but to snatch the cup. The Pharaohs have done their best on the pitch. Ahmed Hassan, Egypt's Midfielder, left no spot in the pitch as he ran and played everywhere. Mohammed Abdul Wahab, El Saka, Ahmed Fathi, Ibrahim Said and Wael Goma'a (before picking an injury and being substituted) were like defensive tackling machines that could well stop Ivoirian stars like Drogba, Aruna, Kalou and Akale. The 90 minutes end and it was a draw. In the regulation time Egypt wins a controversial penalty kick, but Ahmed Hassan thankfully hits the post as Henry Micheal was already crying "they robbed the game". The regulation time ends and they are penalty kicks that will determine who is the winner. Now comes the time for glory for El Hadary, the goal keeper who is now Egypt's hero, as he catches Drogba's ball and Cote D'Ivoire's first shot. Once again he catches Kone's shot which was Cote D'Ivoire's third shot. Finally comes Abu Treka, Egypt's attacking midfielder and buries the ball into the net giving Egypt the fifth African title. All 75.000 fans in the stadium and 74 million people in front of TVs cry in joy, sing the name of their country and hug each other in tears.

Cairo International Stadium reaches full capacity hours before the match starts!

After the game I ran to the streets of Cairo, took my car and my flag and picked my friends and roamed Cairo all night long. Cars and young men everywhere, holding their flags, singing, jumping, wearing all in red white and black, waving their country's flags and cheering the winner. Cars everywhere sounds their horns loud in joy.... Once again, everybody is happy, cheerful, smiling or even crying and tearful in joy. Congratulations Egypt, we are Kings of Africa.

Cairo's Mustafa Mahmoud square full of young people dancing, singing and cheering the victory

Whispers to the FIFA: You gave Egypt's bid to host the World Cup 2010 zero votes, and here it is now, we prove we are able to host a big championships. Egypt 2006 ACN is the most successful ACN championship till now. This is our reply to your vote: a loud success.

Egypt's results through the tournment:
Group stage
Egypt vs Libya 3-0
Morocco vs Egypt 0-0
Egypt vs Cote D'Ivoire 3-1

Quarter final: RD Congo vs Egypt 1-4
Semi final: Egypt vs Senegal 2-1
Final: Egypt vs Cote D'Ivoire 4-2 (penalty kicks)

Championship facts:
Egypt dominates!

Team(s) that didn't lose any Match: Egypt

Strongest Attack: Egypt (12 Goals)

Strongest defense: Egypt (3 goals)

Weakest defense : Togo (7 Goals)

Weakest Attack: Morocco & South Africa (No Goals)

Best Player: Ahmed Hasan (Egypt)

Best Scorer: Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon) - 5 Goals

Best Goalkeeper: Essam El-Hadari (Egypt)

Best Young Player: John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)

Best Referee: Essam Abdel-Fatah (Egypt)

Best Assistant Referee: Draman Dant (Mali)

Photo and facts Sources:
BBC Sport
Filgoal (multilingual)

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