Sunday, 31st of January 2010 was the final match of the African Cup of Nations. Egypt Vs Ghana for the cup and African Champion Title.

Ghana who , for the World Cup had their sights on the cup and title, while Egypt being the defending champions for the two years running were looking to make it three.

The traffic in Cairo is usually terrible but on Sunday it had reached a peak. People were leaving school and work early so that they could be home in time to watch the match. Cairo Stadium was full and busting to the seams of Egypt’s National football team. By 6 pm most of the country were huddle around a TV set crammed in a sitting room or a cafe to watch if the team would make history. The air was not as thick with anticipation as it was last Thursday when Egypt was faced with Algeria in the semi final, but we were curious to see how the boys in red would play and if they could win the title for the 3rd year in a row bringing their total wins to seven.

At 6:15 the game started and like a pack of wolves both teams chased and kicked the ball and defended their goals like their livelihood depended on it. Egypt came close to scoring a few times in the first half of the game but Ghana was determined not to let the reigning champs score. Egypt at one point looked as though they might not keep the title when three of the their players were yellow carded and Ghana was awared penalty kicks, but each time their attempts were blocked by the goalie ‘Hadary’ who has been nick named ‘ El Sed El 3aly’, which means the High Damn. The first half the game ended nil, nil.

The second half of the game was just as eventful as the first until Gido was sent on. This 26 year old Alexandrian footballer has become Egypt’s new ‘it’ boy. 87 minutes in to the game Gido has the chance to score and makes it. Braking the tie and bring the score to 1-0! For the remaining thirteen minutes of the game, the country and fans held their breath praying that Ghana wouldn’t be able to score. When the whistle blew, the cheers that broke out around the country could be heard every where! Egypt had won again for the 3rd consecutive year in a row bringing their wins to a lucky number 7! The Pharaohs may have died but the Egyptian soccer team are the reigning kings of football in Africa.

The Celebrations broke out almost as soon as the Referee declared the match officially over and that Egypt had won the game. The streets were crowded with people drumming, whistling, chanting and waving their flag with pride. Cars speeding up and down the roads beeping and honking till the early hours of Monday morning.

The Egyptians have regained their pride after their humiliating loss to Algeria during the World Cup qualifying game  and the disastrous media coverage that followed! They will return to Egypt with their heads held high and as national hers.

I wish the four African nations that did qualify for the World Cup the best of luck!

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