If there was ever a winner in defeat – on and off the pitch – it was the unknown, unshakable Chakar Alhadur.
Missing all three of the Comoros’ keeper in goal, the left-back captured hearts on social media as Ten-Man Minnows gave Cameron a powerful scare at AFCON.
Alhadur was hailed as ‘more active than De Ge’ and ‘funnier but wonderful’ after making ‘four good defenses’.
He won over more fans when images of him were posted, forgetting that he was the goalkeeper and keeping his hands behind his back while expecting a shot.
Cameroon eventually advanced 2–1 into the quarter-finals, with Karl Toko Ekambi and Vincent Abubakar striking before a consolation a majestic free-kick from Yusuf M’Changama.
Three goals earlier, Comoros midfielder Nadjim Abdu had picked up a harsh early red card, leading many to predict a landslide.
Instead, Alhadur embraced the biggest night of his playing career in the most unexpected of ways.
The 30-year-old former Nantes wideman plays at a decent club standard for second-placed Ligue 2 side Ajaccio.
But switching between sticks, he made four quality stops for tournament debutants, most notably a dumbfounding double block.
First, the former Nantes ace threw the ball away in an unorthodox way when diving throughout the stretch, then he made a reaction tip-away.
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The Comoros were forced to field Alhadur in their unusual position as Salim ben Boina was injured and Ali Ahmada and Moyad Oseni tested positive for Covid.
The nation, ranked 132 in the world, was hopeful that Ahmed would be cleared to play as he tested negative in the morning.
But the head of the Confederation of African Football stuck to his strict protocol.
In the end, however, it left the audience to salute a new hero.
One said of Alhadur: “You can’t blame him. He made 4 good defenses!”.
Another fan replied: “No one blames them, good performance so far. Much respect.”
And this post spoke to many: “Funny but he did great. Amazing performance.”
But how about it go out to a tribute: “Frankly, this guy won my heart. I was supporting him from the very beginning of the match. Much respect.”
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