For Cameroon coach Hugo Broos, the African Nations Cup final is about more than just lifting a continental title – it is a chance for him to prove his critics wrong and have the last laugh.
He will lead his side against Egypt in the decider in Libreville on Sunday, hoping to become the first Belgian coach to lift the trophy, at the same time adding a notable achievement to his long CV.
Broos exhibits a sense of bitterness over what he feels has been poor treatment at the hands of teams in his homeland, who have decided he is not good enough to coach in the country. He feels he has been unfairly shunned by the football fraternity and that his talents as a coach are neither respected nor appreciated.
Finding no opportunities at home, he has been forced to build a career abroad, and the 64-year-old former stalwart defender with Anderlecht and Club Brugge, as well as with the Belgium national team, believes he has been hard done by.
Of the Nations Cup final, he told Het Nieuwsblad: “As a coach there is hardly anything bigger. It is incredible that I can achieve this.
“But it makes me disappointed at the same time that people in Belgium only give me recognition now, while for years my abilities have been doubted. For years nobody has given me a chance in Belgium. Nobody calls me and with my record and I find that strange.”
Broos says his critics say he is too old fashioned in his coaching methods, or that he is too demanding with his salary requirements, but Broos denies both of these.
“Tell me then what is too old-fashioned about me? I would like to know. And too expensive? In the last six years has no club has asked me what I want to earn. Not a single one.”
And Broos says he does not stay in the coaching game for the money: for him it has become a personal crusade to prove his detractors wrong.
"People often ask me why I do not stop. I don’t have to do it for the money. Well, it’s because I do not want to stop at a time when my career bleeds to death slowly. I wanted to prove myself again.
“It is a matter of honour for me. I've waited a long time to make all those who doubted me look like fools. That moment has now come and I am enjoying it."