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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Africa Cup of Nations: Cameroonians dominate team of tournament – in pictures

Predictably, Cameroon, Egypt and Burkina Faso make up most of the team of the tournament.

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Goalkeeper: Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon)

No giant, but with quick reflexes and a willingness to think beyond the textbook in how he stops shots. At 21, should have a fine future for a nation with strong goalkeeping traditions.

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Defender: Ali Gabr (Egypt)

Egypt conceded just the one goal in five matches before the final. Gabr was one of the main reasons why. Protected his goalkeeper, the veteran Essam El Hadary.

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Defender: Kara Mbodji (Senegal)

The Anderlecht defender, imposing in duels and comfortable with the ball at his feet, would feel entitled to think he deserved to go further than the quarter-finals. A fine leader.

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Defender: Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui (Cameroon)

The Slavia Prague stopper probably owed his place in the team to the withdrawal from the Afcon of Liverpool’s Joel Matip. He barely looked back, authoritative and chipping in with useful goals, too.

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Midfielder: Christian Bassogog (Cameroon)

A revelation who came from relative obscurity to be hailed as Player of the Tournament. Swift and direct, the 21-year-old player commanded his flank almost throughout the tournament.

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Midfielder: Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso)

The midfield general has been around the block, and, as in South Africa four years ago, he gave the impression of being a step ahead of those around him with his positioning and intelligent passing.

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Midfielder: Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Gave Ghana their bit in midfield and energy and athleticism. Partey, unlike some of his international teammates, has plenty of time still, at 23, to shake off the habit of repeated Afcon semi-finals and no main prize.

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Midfielder: Benjamin Moukandjo (Cameroon)

Two and half years ago, Moukandjo was scuffling with a Cameroon teammate, on the pitch, at a poor World Cup for the Lions. Now he is captain, and has been an exemplary one over the last few weeks.

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Forward: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

The fastest of Pharaohs was not just raw speed and the target of Egypt’s counter-attacking game. Roma’s Salah has guile too and showed in the final. Unlucky to end up with only a silver medal.

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Forward: Junior Kabananga (DR Congo)

A late call up to the Congolese party, his strength determination and his whiplash volleys made him the tournament’s top scorer. His spectacular strike against Ivory Coast will be enjoyed again and again.

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Forward: Prejuce Nakoulma (Burkina Faso)

Burkina Faso’s run to the last eight was inspired less by the more celebrated Jonathan Pitroipa than by the wing-play of Prejuce Nakoulma, creative and incisive and with two goals in the Afcon to his credit.

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