AFCON final: Nigeria legend tips Salah’s Egypt to outfox Mane’s Senegal, become African champions

The two sides have produced some of the best football at the tournament and an exciting evening awaits the world as the Lions battle the Pharaohs for the biggest prize in African football

Former Nigerian international and 1980 Africa Cup of Nations-winning star Segun Odegbami has backed Egypt to beat Senegal at the final of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to be played later today, Sunday, February 6, 2022, at the Olembe’s Paul Biya Stadium.

It would be recalled that Odegbami earlier predicted a Cameroon-Nigeria final following the first round of games at the tournament.

But the Super Eagles crashed out at the second round following a 1-0 loss to Tunisia. The Indomitable Lions, on the other hand, made it to the semifinals playing some breathtaking attacking football, but they were beaten on penalties by Egypt.

The Pharaohs, captained by Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, will be seeking to conquer the continent for a record-extending eighth time against a Senegalese side aiming to clinch their first-ever title.

Driven by the mercurial Sadio Mane, the Teranga Lions have the chance to rewrite history. On their current superb form – unbeaten in 12 consecutive games, including nine wins and three draws – they will fancy their chances on Sunday.

Egypt, though, are no pushovers. Carlos Queiroz’s men have taken arguably the most arduous route to the final.

They narrowly lost to Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the opening match at the competition and made it out of Group D as runners-up after defeating Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.

The Pharaohs needed penalties to edge Ivory Coast in the first knockout round, extra-time to beat Morocco in the quarterfinals, and penalties again to triumph over hosts Cameroon in the semifinals.

And for that, Odegbami thinks the Egyptians look the most equipped to lift the Nations Cup for a record-extending eighth time.

The 1980 Afcon top scorer wrote in his weekly column, as per Complete Sports: “For Nigerians, it is ironic that the team that the Super Eagles defeated almost without breaking sweat at the start of the championship has become the most tactically competent team of the championship.

“They are looking more and more like champions with the real prospect of adding one more to their chest of trophies, extending their record as the most successful national team in the history of the African Cup of Nations.

“I am wagering on Egypt to lift the trophy, in consolation that it could also have been Nigeria, were the gods not to have been ‘angry’.

“I also predict that against Egypt, Mane will have his best game but will not go home with the trophy.”

Egypt are the most successful team at the Afcon, emerging champions a record seven times in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

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