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It is an image that will mark the history of football. Yesterday, in the round of 16 of the African Cup of Nations, the Comoros lined up a left side at the start of the goalkeeper post, for lack of a doorman available because of the Covid-19, to face the host country, Cameroon. Author of a big match, the former Nantes, Caen or Châteauroux made an impression despite the elimination of his family in a match where he shone several times, like his selection, heroic when it was reduced to ten of the the first minutes of the shock.
“I received an incredible number of messages
The day after this magical evening, the brand new goalkeeper returned to this performance in the columns of the Parisian : “It was a magical, exceptional moment. I received an incredible number of messages, only positive, thanks. This is where we realize that we have given hope to people in showing them that in life, nothing is impossible. We were disadvantaged, we played ten and even if we lost, we showed a beautiful face “describes the left side converted goalkeeper for an evening, before to reconsider his decision to take on this role of doorman.
“I just put the gloves on during a reduced game”
“Saturday evening, after joining Yaoundé by plane, we had a fun little training session. We had no goalkeepers. And the first thing we did, like kids, was that we made strikes and that each went to the goals in turn (…). On Sunday, it was more serious. The staff had decided not to touch his starting line-up. So, it could not be only one substitute. The one who came out was me. I didn’t ask for anything. But the staff thought that I had the experience to be able to withstand this pressure, that I would be able to command the defense, play with my feet (…). I just put the gloves on during a reduced game. Afterwards, until the last second, in my head, I never believed that I was going to play goalkeeper. I said to myself , it’s not possible, it’s a round of 16 of CAN all the same. It’s a crazy story. It would be unique in the annals of football.
“But you know, I suck as a goalkeeper”
Subsequently, he insisted on explaining why his number 3 was displayed with tape: “I was not allowed to wear number 16 (that of the goalkeeper). So we put my number with tape on a goalkeeper jersey. It was symbolic of this totally crazy evening”, before ending with his feelings after this definitely extraordinary evening: “But you know, I suck (sic) as a goalkeeper (bursts of laughter)… Already, I am very small (1.72 m). What saves me is that I know how to play with my feet. But I did not understand why the Cameroonians had not tried to hit more from afar. On my saves, it was not really academic, like the one where I make opposite hand, then I lie on the ground… It’s funny. When I watch the videos, I died laughing. That sums up my feeling about this match I approached it like this: Have fun, have fun… And I had this magical moment.”
Chaker Alhadhur, the Comoros left-back, became his country’s hero in the match against Cameroon by becoming a goalkeeper in the round of 16. The AC Ajaccio player recounts in detail his extraordinary evening.