The 29-year-old revels at helping the Lions of Teranga to clinch their first-ever continental title after 16 appearances
Senegal winger Sadio Mane has confessed winning the Africa Cup of Nations trophy is the best moment of his life.
The 29-year-old played a key role for the Lions of Teranga as they won their first-ever continental title in Cameroon after they overpowered Egypt 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in regular and extra time.
Mane, who was the key player for Senegal from the tournament’s day one after he scored in the 1-0 win against Zimbabwe, stepped up to convert the winning penalty at Olembe Stadium on Sunday after his earlier effort had been saved by Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski.
Having joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2016, Mane has won the Premier League title in 2020, Champions League in 2019, Uefa Super Cup in 2019, and Fifa Club World Cup in 2019 but according to him, the Afcon title is the most special.
“I am very proud and I think it is the best moment of my life ever. This day I think it is the best day. I won the Champions League and some trophies but I think this is the special one for me, this is more important for me,” Mane told GOAL after the game.
Mane was the key player for Senegal and he scored three goals in the tournament – in the 1-0 win against the Warriors, in the 2-0 win against Cape Verde, and 3-1 result against Burkina Faso.
His overall display in Cameroon saw him named the 2021 Africa Cup of Nation’s Most Outstanding Player while Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski – who saved two penalty kicks – was named the best player of the final.
Meanwhile, Senegal’s Edouard Mendy was named as the tournament’s top goalkeeper after keeping five clean sheets while Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar claimed the Golden Boot with his eight goals for the Indomitable Lions.
Elsewhere, former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas has heaped praise on Mane for handing Senegal their first-ever Afcon title.
“Sadio [Mane] has put his country on his shoulders and given the title to them. This is Senegal’s golden generation and they have managed to do it, it is a big moment for the country,” Jenas told BBC Three as quoted by BBC Sport Africa.
“Mane hit that penalty without any doubt he would score, which is incredible with the pressure he was under. You can see Mane is a leader.
“We know he is a top, top footballer, but the growth in the player over the years was very visible today [Sunday] in the biggest moment of his life.”