Senegal have tightened their dominance of continental football by winning Saturday’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) final 5-4 on nail-biting post-match penalties at the expense of hosts Algeria.With this latest triumph the West African nation has made a clean sweep of all continental football trophies from the prestigious AfCON title to the African beach soccer championship in the last 12 months.
Two days before the first anniversary of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) trophy won in 2022 in Cameroon by the elite Teranga Lions, their local counterparts claimed the feat.
The CHAN competition is exclusively reserved for players plying their trade in local championships in Africa.
Saturday’s final was decided after the penalty shootout (4-5) after a hard-fought match at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Algiers, which was full to overflowing.
Hosts Algeria and Senegal could not manage to break the deadlock after 120 minutes.
Senegal coach Pape Thiaw’s charges played a solid game but were undone by fluffing their chances.
Ineffective in front, the midfield partners Lamine Camara, voted man of the match, managed the game physically, tactically and mentally even if they were worried at the end of extra time by wave after wave of raids by the Algerians.
But with the presence of the imposing Pape Mamadou Sy, named CHAN’s best goalkeeper, the Senegalese managed to protect their clean sheet until the fateful penalty shootout.
Faced with the first Algerian shooter, Akram Djahnit, Sy a goalkeeper with Génération Foot, the club which trained Sadio Mané, Ismaila Sarr and many other Lions, was penalised after saving the shot because his feet were not on his goal line.
The Algerian player scored at the second attempt after Senegal’s converted first penalty.
The following players imitate him until the fourth Senegalese shooter, captain Cheikhou Oumar Ndiaye, who blazed his shot over the crossbar.
But the Senegalese penalty takers keep their nerves and even regained confidence after Aimen Mahious, CHAN’s top scorer with five goals including two from the penalty spot, completely missed his attempt.
Senegal scored their sixth shot when Teungueth FC defender Ousmane Diouf converted while Ahmed Kendouci’s strike for Algeria missed, sending the local Lions into wild celebrations as they claimed their first trophy in the competition at the third time of participating.
“After the CAN, Senegal wins the CHAN Cup! Warm congratulations to the valiant local Lions and their management for this historic victory which crowns a heroic journey. Dear lions, you have made history! The whole nation is proud of you,” tweeted President Macky Sall.
In addition to CHAN and CAN, Senegal also won the 2022 African Cup of Beach Football Nations, the Union of West African Federations (Ufoa-A) tournament for players under 20 and the same women’s tournament last January, testifying to the upward trajectory of Senegalese football.