Soufiane Rahimi has expressed his gratitude to African football legend Samuel Eto’o for recognising his exploits at the 2021 African Nations Championship.
The forward played a key role in helping the Atlas Lions successfully defend the title won on home soil in Cameroon – scoring five goals in five matches – which earned him the topscorer’s prize as well as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player accolade.
Eto’o had taken to social media to congratulate the North African country as well as the Raja Casablanca star for their exploits at the sixth edition of the biennial African football showpiece.
“Congratulations to Morocco for winning the African Nations Championship! Well done to Cameroon for organizing a beautiful tournament - it was an honour to be there and present the Man of the Competition award to Soufiane Rahimi! Huge respect to all the teams,” the former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward tweeted.In his response, the 25-year-old considered it a privilege seeing the ‘world-class legend’ testify to his feats in Cameroon.
“Thank you so much. It’s an honour for me to read this testimony from a world-class legend and the player who made us all proud of our continent. Samuel Eto’o!” Rahimi tweeted.
Rahimi found the net twice in Morocco's 5-2 victory over Uganda, while he found the net first as Houcine Ammouta’s men silenced Zambia in the last eight before scoring another double against the host nation in their 4-0 semi-final triumph.
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In the final match played at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde, he was a marked man as second-half headers by Abdelmouna Boutouil and captain Ayoub El Kaabi helped them defeat Mali 2-0.
With that achievement, the Atlas Lions became the first country to win a second successive title in the tournament designed exclusively for home-based players.
Morocco would be hoping for a third title in a row when the seventh edition is held in Algeria in 2022.
The biennial football showpiece was billed to take place in April 2020, however, it was pushed forward after hosts Cameroon requested the rescheduling of the competition following the outbreak of Covid-19, which brought football activities to a stop.