Striker Mohamed Zidan, who chose club over country when his team won the Africa Cup of Nations two years ago, said he made the right choice this year after Egypt retained the trophy following their 1-0 win over Cameroon.
“It’s a great feeling to be champion today,” said the Hamburg player.
“I missed the last time in Egypt and it was a difficult situation,” said Zidan, who set up the winning goal for Mohamed Aboutrika in the final.
“I decided to stay with my club in Germany and I was in a similar situation this time, it was a difficult situation to decide who to play for, Hamburg or the national team.
“But I took this decision because I wanted to imagine the feeling of being a champion. We have the strongest team in Africa and we have shown this in this tournament.”
Goalscorer Aboutrika said: “It’s a great feeling to score for my country because we’re making the whole country happy. When you score the winning goal for the national team, it’s different from scoring for a club.”
Aboutrika also converted the winning kick when Egypt beat Ivory Coast on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the 2006 final.
“It’s even better when you win away from home because you’re from your country, your people, your family but this gives you power. You want to fight to win away and make everyone happy and that makes it even better.
“This is the happiest day of my life.”
Cameroon admitted they lost to the better team on the day.
“We have to congratulate Egypt, they deserve their victory,” said Cameroon defender Bill Tchato.
“In fairness, the best team won,” he added.
“They have had a great tournament and we must not forget they were the holders.
“And their victory two years ago was no fluke.”
Cameroon full back Geremi said the team were satisfied with their overall performance.
“Nobody likes to lose, especially the final, but the positive thing is that we got to the final in the first place because many people did not give us a chance of getting there but we fought hard to get that far,” he said.