Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski Mohamed Abou Gabal has in an interview in his native Egypt disclosed to reporters that he deserved the Goalkeeper of the tournament award ahead of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy.
Mendy was handed the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award at AFCON 2021 after his heroics in the penalty shootout against Egypt in the final, when he saved a crucial penalty from Mostafa Lasheen during the shootout.
The Chelsea goalkeeper missed Senegal’s first two games of the tournament after contracting COVID-19, but returned to help the Teranga Lions claim a maiden AFCON title in Cameroon.
According to Gabaski, he made more of an impact on the tournament than Mendy and had a more important role for his team.
“Even if I won the individual award, it won’t make any difference because we lost the Africa Cup of Nations title,” Gabaski told MBC Masr.
“I think my numbers are slightly better than Mendy’s, but CAF choices are often odd.”
“Mendy himself said that I played better, he told me to keep going as we’ll meet again in the World Cup qualifiers next March.”
Gabaski came into the picture after regular first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy picked up an injury in their Round of 16 clash against Ivory Coast. The 33-year-old Zamalek goalkeeper was substituted on in the closing stages and went on to save a penalty from Eric Bailly in the shootout.
Gabaski also saved two penalties in the semifinals against hosts Cameroon to help Egypt reach the final of the tournament. He saved a penalty from Sadio Mane in the opening stages of the final and made some breathtaking saves over the course of the match.
The Egyptian goalkeeper failed to make the tournament’s official squad, with Senegal’s Mendy taking the starting berth and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana included as the backup goalkeeper. He was, however, named as the Man of the Match in the final against Senegal.