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Cup of Nations final star Mane wins top individual award

Yaoundé (AFP) – Senegal captain Sadio Mane, who scored the decisive shootout penalty in the Africa Cup of Nations final triumph over Egypt, was named player of the tournament in Yaounde on Sunday.

His successful kick atoned for a missed penalty just seven minutes into the final when goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal pushed a powerful kick down the middle to safety.

Mane, who opposed fellow Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in the title decider, was part of the Senegal team that lost to Algeria in the previous final, three years ago in Cairo.

Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was a surprise choice as goalkeeper of the tournament, given the heroics of Abou Gabal during the event. 

While Chelsea shot-stopper Mendy had a relatively comfortable tournament thanks to a brilliant Kalidou Koulibaly-marshalled defence, Abou Gabal excelled under constant pressure in four knockout matches.

Apart from blocking the Mane penalty in regular time, Abou Gabal made a string of superb saves to keep Senegal goalless in the final, and he wept after the shootout loss.

Abou Gabal came to Cameroon as the second choice behind Mohamed Elshenawy, whose tournament was cut short after an injury in the last-16 clash with the Ivory Coast.

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar received the Golden Boot award for finishing leading scorer with eight goals, including two in a dramatic third place victory over Burkina Faso on the eve of the final.

He just missed matching the single Cup of Nations tournament record of nine goals set in 1974 by now deceased Ndaye Mulamba of Zaire (later renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo).

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