3 important lessons from AFCON 2017

Cameroon win AFCON 2017

The 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) might have come and gone but the experiences will most definitely linger for a while.

Cameroon, against all odds, clinched the title at the expense of Egypt – the same team they lost to in the finals in 2008 – thanks to a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

It was a fairytale end to an absolute improbable tournament for the Indomitable Lions who were written off by many even before kicking a ball in Gabon.

Cameroon’s conquest proves that in the game of football, you ‘never say never’.

Aside from this obvious lesson, what else did we learn from the just concluded AFCON? Here are three.

  1. No more minnows in football

There was a time when one could perfectly predict the outcome of football matches even before kick-off, but this isn’t the case now especially when you consider the outcome of some games at the AFCON. Host, Gabon with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, previous winners, Cote d’Ivoire and star-studded Algeria all slipped against less-fancied sides and as a result failed to progress beyond the group phase. Instead, it was the likes of Cameroon, Egypt and DR Congo who were considered outsiders for the title that performed superbly.

  1. Best teams don’t always win

Football could be cruel at times in a way that the finest sides don’t always end up winning the title. Senegal, DR Congo and Egypt were definitely the best teams from the group phase having garnered the most points. In fact, the trio impressed with their beautiful attacking style of play which caught the attention of many. However, it was a Cameroonian team that finished as runner-up in their group that eventually clinched the title. Senegal and Egypt were stopped by Hugo Broos’ lads while the Leopards fell to Ghana in the last eight.

  1. Never turn your back on your country

One shocking trend that surfaced prior to the commencement of the tournament was that of top players turning their back on their nation. Cameroon was the most affected with as many as eight players pulling out from the competition. This left Broos with no option than to place his trust on a young and inexperienced bunch who eventually got the job done.

“There was a lot of trouble before, players who wouldn’t come with us,” said the Belgian after the final.

“OK, it’s their decision. But maybe they are saying now to themselves, “S***! Why didn’t I go with them?”