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Witty quotes from the African Cup of Nations

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Ghana’s Israeli coach Avram Grant observes team training session in Port-Gentil on January 15, 2017, during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon

LIBREVILLE, Gabon, Feb 6 – The African Cup of Nations ended on Sunday night with Cameroon upsetting Egypt to win 2-1 for their fifth continental title and the first in 15 years.

It was a tournament that brought a lot of joy on the field, but here are some of the unforgettable quotes picked from the three-week tournament.

“I had a feeling that I was going to save the final two penalties.”

– 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeping hero Essam El Hadary after saving two penalties in semi-final shootout win over Burkina Faso

“The bags of a coach are always half-packed — ready to stay, ready to go.”

– Uganda coach Milutin Sredojevic

“Everybody is alive.”

– Ghana coach Avram Grant responds to a media query about injuries

“We want to play on good pitches, we want to pass, but we cannot.”

– Avram Grant slams Port-Gentil pitch

“The pitch is horrendous and really tough to control the ball on, to run on.”

– damning verdict of Port-Gentil pitch from Mali’s Bakary Sako

“It has not been scientifically proven that injuries are related to the pitches.”

– CAF spokesman Junior Binyam reacts to criticism of Cup of Nations pitches

“Let the players not expect the pitches in Africa to be like those in Europe.”

– CAF official and former Senegal star Khalilou Fadiga

“I was unable to revitalise the players. I did not find the key to success.”

– Michel Dussuyer after resigning as coach of Ivory Coast following first-round exit of the title-holders

“A team must be built from the ground up. In Africa, we want to build teams from the trees.”

– Cup of Nations official, 1988 African Footballer of the Year and former Zambia star Kalusha Bwalya

“It is absurd to stage the Cup of Nations in January.”

– Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri laments the absence of three players on Cup of Nations duty

“It is always a contentious date from a European perspective, but not from an African perspective.”

– CAF general secretary Hicham El Amrani defending Cup of Nations dates amid criticism from European clubs

“When you come to a (media conference) room like this, it is not a court.”

– Morocco coach Herve Renard criticises “insensitive” journalists

“In the past, Cameroon always had good strikers like Roger Milla and Samuel Eto’o. They scored with their eyes closed. When we find another, we can create a really good team.”

– Cameroon coach Hugo Broos

“I did not recognise my team in the first half. They were not the Indomitable Lions, rather the dominated lions. We had no spirit, no teamwork.”

– Broos sums up poor first-half performance against Guinea-Bissau

“I have never seen a group of players who love their country so much.”

– Egypt coach Hector Cuper

“Sadio Mane was crying. It is a kind of curse on great players that they miss penalties in shootouts.”

– Senegal football boss Augustin Senghor after Mane shootout miss eliminates title favourites Senegal in the quarter-finals

“Football, music and religion — that is the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

– DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge

“I feel like I am the captain of the ship and I am not sure whether it is time to abandon it.”

– Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor ponders his international future at 32

“Former international footballers can take their knowledge to the grave or pass it on to those younger than themselves.”

– Senegal coach Aliou Cisse

“He is like a father to me.”

– Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte after a phone call from fellow Portuguese and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

“This is my ninth Cup of Nations and I still experience the same passion and joy when on a football field with players.”

– Togo handler Claude le Roy, the ‘godfather’ of African coaches, at 68

“We are up against vultures who have great Cup of Nations experience.”

– Guinea-Bissau coach Baciro Cande labels Group A rivals Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Gabon

“Of all the teams taking part in the tournament, hosts Gabon were the only ones who did not prepare. Incredible!”

– Gabonese newspaper L’Union after the host nation were knocked out after the first round group

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