Africa Cup of Nations: Those who took care of the late President Ahmadou Ahidjo were rewarded in Yaoundé 0

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee’ (Luke 10.33-35).

When the Prince of Peace spoke, he spoke volumes. The words of Jesus Christ were pearls and rubies and diamonds, and often they meant not only the finite meaning which we can put into practice, but infinite meanings which only He can fulfill. The political leadership of the Republic of Senegal was wise when they carefully weighed the sentences of the Saviour and by extrapolation Issa.

In 1992, Senegal hosted the Africa Cup of Nations. It was the 18th edition and the field expanded to twelve teams, split into four groups of three; the top two teams in each group advanced to the quarterfinals. Ivory Coast won its first championship, beating Ghana on penalty kicks 11−10 after a goalless draw.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon knocked out a great Senegalese side captained by the renowned Jules Boucande now of blessed memory. Nobody ever imagined that after the 1992 fiasco, the Teranga Lions of Senegal will create history by winning the country’s first — and, to date, only – Africa Cup of Nations.  

The scenes at the Olembe stadium in Yaoundé remains the most memorable and intense moments the Senegalese nation and its people have ever experienced and for sure it is going to transcend football.

But for the host nation, Cameroon, the Senegalese triumph has far reaching social repercussions and has instilled a sense of disunity among French and English speaking Cameroonians and arguably reminded the Cameroonian people that God is a rewarder of nations who diligently seek him.

Despite that trauma was huge for Senegal and necessitated a rebuild ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, the big men in Dakar were all behind their manager Aliou Cissé.

The Teranga Lions had a pressure-relieving victory Group B stage amid a 0-0 draw with Guinea at the Kouekong Stadium. However, there were bigger tests to come and breaks of good fortune, as well as Cameroon support.

You can have all the talent in the world, the best football players, good chemistry, support from fans or any other advantages you can think of, but you will always need a bit of luck to win big trophies.  That is what the spirit of the late President Ahmadou Ahidjo provided for the Teranga Lions.

The Lions of Senegal worked so hard but the father of the Cameroonian nation, the late President Ahidjo gave the Senegalese an incredible mental strength.  They were ready for anything that could be thrown at them by the Egyptians. And they had an answer for everything. The cohesion in the group headed by Sadio Mane was marvelous. The spirit of Ahmadou Ahidjo-a leader who had so much passion for the beautiful game was really behind Senegal.

Big games belong to big players. There is no bigger game in Africa than the Africa Cup of Nations final. That’s where Senegal wanted to shine and they did just that.

The impact of the Senegalese victory on Cameroonian soil is so special because the remains of late President Ahmadou Ahidjo and his wife are still in Dakar.  For the first time, Senegalese people of all origins have something in common, their football team. They will celebrate all together; enjoy life as a society all together.

Through sport and football, those who took care of the late President Ahmadou Ahidjo have been rewarded.  

By Besong Esther Agbor