The Head Coach was CAF Technical and Development Director, Abdelmoneim Hussein “Shatta” whilst CAF Executive Committee members, Adoum Djibrine and Amadou Diakite were among the familiar faces on the bench. There were so many players that even the substitutes counted over 20.
In the stands were Acting FIFA and CAF President, Issa Hayatou and his wife, CAF 2nd Vice President and president of the CHAN Organising Committee, Almamy Kabele Camara and his wife, spouse of CAF 1st Vice President, whose husband Suketu Patel was the safest pair of hands for the CAF team and was already warming up.
There was also Cameroon legend, Roger Milla, famous for his goal celebration dance around the corner post. So was Zambia legend Kalusha Bwalya “the demon of Gwangju”, a nickname given to his following his three goals against Italy during the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Then was Jean-Michel M’Bono, scorer of the winning goal when Congo won the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1972. Almost 44-years later, M’Bono showed that he still has some football in him.
CAF General Secretary, Hicham El Amrani “Knight of Rif”, scored a superb goal, just as Sherif Ahmed “Star of the Nile”, Junior Binyam, the “young Cameroonian”, who was the tower of the defence, highly determined Constant Omari Selemani “Kinshasa Giraffe”, Anjorin Moucharafou “Cotonou Fly”, Ousmane Camara “Pride of Guinea”, Ismail Wally, Event Director of the Orange CHAN Rwanda 2016, coupled with the energetic looking Mohamed El Shawarby, Ahmed Harraz, Pape Toure, Bertrand Kabore, Kofi Addae and not forgetting Makan Magasouba, a.k.a “If you don’t not come to Lagardere, Lagardere will come to you”.
At pitch side were the female staff of the CAF Secretariat including Amira Gaber, Shereen Arafa, Amina Kassem, Sarah Kamel, Sarah El Gazzar, Noha Nassif, Hend Thabet, Aya Gaeriany and Marwa Foda who sang and drummed throughout the match.
The match was delivered in good homour by men who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the CHAN a success with the Local Organising Committee led by Vincent De Gaulle Nzamwita parading a couple of former international players in their team. Rwanda’s Minister of Sport and Culture, Julienne Uwacu later joined the joyful meeting at the Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo.
It was organized in good humour and relaxation, for a game that ended 3-3. It was a great relaxing moment, two hours of a celebration of friendship, brotherliness amongst the CAF delegation and their Rwandan counterparts, as the fourth edition of the African Nations Championship heads for the finish line.
PS. This piece is a tribute to the men and women who have shown relentless support and contribution to all competitions organized by the Confédération Africaine de Football.