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The triumphant Cameroon squad had a heroes’ welcome upon their return to the country after sealing the fifth Africa Cup of Nations title in their history.
A dramatic comeback in the final against Egypt sealed Cameroon’s first major title since 2002 with second-half goals from Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar cancelling out Mohamed Elneny’s opener.
In a show of support, hundreds of fans arrived at Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport to get a glimpse of their returning stars and the famous golden trophy.
Captain Benjamin Moukandjo led his troops off of the plane and through the terminal, holding the trophy aloft to the delight of the awaiting crowd. The players and staff also showed off their winners’ medals.
Cameroon were fitting winners of the Gabon-hosted tournament, as it means they will enjoy status as reigning champions as well as hosts when the 2019 tournament gets underway.
To celebrate that fact, the team wore T-shirts embroidered with the logo for the next AFCON tournament and sang the national anthem before making their way onto the team bus.
But Hugo Broos’ men have much bigger fish to fry before they can think about defending their newly-earned title, namely facing world champions Germany in the Confederations Cup in 2017 and qualifying for World Cup 2018.
They will need to show the determination they displayed in Libreville if they are to make it to Russia as they already sit four points behind Nigeria in their World Cup qualification group after two of six matches.
Only the group winners earn one of five qualification places and the Super Eagles are enjoying a resurgence after missing out on AFCON qualification.
Cameroon qualified for the World Cup in 2014 but were ranked dead-last after losing all three of their group matches, conceding nine goals and scoring just one.