In a matter of hours or perhaps minutes depending on when you are seeing this, the opponents of Teranga lions of Senegal in the finals of the 33rd Nations Cup will emerge. Teranga lions subdued hard fighting Stallions of Burkina Faso who will be hoping to clinch the third place match after missing the ticket to play in the final.
But tonight’s encounter is just about the players even though they are the main actors in on stage, it also about the coaches and tonight it about a defence minded Portuguese coach Toni Conceição in charge of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, who played as a right back during his playing days and Carlos Queiroz in charge of the Pharaohs who in his playing days was a goalkeeper.
By virtue of their position both coaches may be and should be defence conscious covering the back as much as possible. But we have also seen that they also believe that the best form of defence sometimes is attack which explains while the lions Charge sometimes as if wounded in battle.
Interestingly both coaches are Portuguese even though carlos was originally born in Mozambique. On paper it would be safe to say Queiroz and the pharaohs should have a jolly ride and you wonder why? Carlos Queiroz has handled five different national teams from native Portugal to South Africa to UAE, Iran, Columbia and currently Egypt that is aside from the numerous high profile clubs he handled in the past including Real Madrid. Conceição on the other hand is handling a national team in Indomitable lions for the first time with several clubs in his resume. But alas football most times is not necessarily about pedigree but determination and level of hunger for the title in contention.
Both teams are the most successful in the Nations cup with 12 titles between them.
Tonight’s game is not just about winning to face Senegal in the final; it is about veterans in quest of bragging right. Perhaps the only advantage for the hosts is the role of the 12th player but even at that only the best of soccer artistry is expected.