Chelsea goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy has insisted that the goalkeeper of Egypt, Abou Gabal ‘Gabaski’ should have been named the best goalkeeper in the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2021).
The 29-year-old Senegalese goalkeeper led his country to win AFCON via penalty shootout against Egypt. He was able to stop one of the spot-kicks which helped Senegal to win the tournament.
After recording 5 clean sheets in the entire tournament which was the highest in AFCON 2021, CAF named him the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Edouard Mendy won the award ahead of Gabaski.
Though he has taken pictures with the award and taken it to Abu Dhabi to reunite with Chelsea ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup match against Al Hilal tonight, February 9, 2022, Edouard Mendy insisted that Gabaski was better than him in AFCON 2021. Hence, the 33-year-old Zamalek of Egypt goalkeeper should have been named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Recall that during AFCON, Gabaski featured in four games in which he conceded just once. The goalkeeper was so good that he waved eight of the penalties he faced during the knock-out stages of the competition. But that was not enough to make CAF name him the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
“Gabaski is the best goalkeeper of the tournament, honestly”, Mendy Said according to The Sun.
“I spoke to him and I told him he deserves it [to win goalkeeper of the tournament]. And I was really impressed by his tournament.”
Nigerian football legend, Jay Jay Okocha gives the reason why Edouard Mendy was named best goalkeeper in AFCON
Though Edouard Mendy has insisted that Egypt’s Gabaski was a better goalkeeper in AFCON 2021, one of the greatest dribblers in the world of football, Jay Jay Okocha has insisted that the Senegalese goalkeeper deserved to be name the goalkeeper of AFCON 2021.
The former PSG and Bolton Wanderers football icon said the fact that Mendy saved a crucial spot-kick in the AFCON final and recording five clean sheets in the tournament were enough reasons to be the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
“Ever since he signed for Chelsea, it’s like his potential just came out and we knew very little of him before now”, the 1994 AFCON winner said on Supersports.
“Of course, it shows that when you are competing in a good league you keep improving. He’s shown us in this competition that it’s not a fluke that he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.
“I think that award must have been given to him because of the number of clean sheets he kept in this tournament. He kept five clean sheets in this tournament.
“He’s a championship winner for you if you don’t concede goals you give yourself the possibility of winning matches.
“And when it matters the most he saved that penalty to allow his nation to score the winner. For me, yes we’ve seen a lot of good goalkeepers in the tournament but deservingly, he’s the keeper of the tournament.”
Mendy received a warm welcome at Chelsea
When Edouard Mendy joined up with Chelsea at Abu Dhabi ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup match between his team and Al Hilal, he received a warm welcome from his teammates.
All the players gave him a standing ovation as they celebrated with him for helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations trophy and being the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
Mendy had the honor of going round to give each of the players a handshake and an embrace while they clapped for him throughout the process.
A triumphant return! 👏 pic.twitter.com/keI67XZwd7— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 9, 2022
The fingers of Mendy’s fans are crossed to see if coach Thomas Tuchel would drop Spanish goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga for the Senegalese later tonight when Chelsea face Al Hilal in the semi-final stage of the FIFA Club World Cup scheduled to kick off at 17:30.