Sadio Mane of Senegal celebrates during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Final match between Senegal and Egypt held at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 06 February 2022 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Tuesday Feb 08, 2022. 12:00
Senegal star Sadio Mane was over the moon after helping his country to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon on Sunday.
The Liverpool forward scored the decisive penalty to beat Egypt 4-2 in the shootout during the final after 120 minutes of football produced no goals at the Olembe Stadium.
Mane squandered the opportunity to give the Lions of Teranga a seventh-minute lead in Yaounde when he missed from the spot, but revealed after the match that his team-mates gave him words of encouragement which motivated him to try again from 12 yards out later on.
The 29-year-old has already won two of the most coveted trophies in the game with the Reds – the Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles – but described his AFCON triumph as the highlight of his career.
“Obviously it’s the best day of my life and is the best trophy of my life. I can’t speak my feeling because I’m really, really happy for myself, my people and all of my family,” Mane said in his post-match interview.
“When I missed the first penalty, that was a big blow for me because it pushed me higher. All my team-mates came to me to say ‘Sadio, we lose together, we win together. We know you. You did too much for us and we don’t care about the penalty – keep on going.
“I think that made me stronger and that made the difference. When I got the second one all the boys came to me and said ‘Sadio, we trust you’ and it gave me more motivation and I scored.”