The prize for the winners of Sunday night’s African Nations Cup is much more than the continental crown and a $4-million cheque.
There is also the invitation to the mid-year’s Confederations Cup in Russia as motivation for both Cameroon and Egypt as they seek the title at Libreville’s Stade l’Amitie.
Eight countries compete in Russia in June in the now-traditional World Cup warm-up event. It lasts for two weeks from June 17 to July 2, and the the Nations Cup winner will be the last country whose participation will be confirmed.
The Confederations Cup is a tournament for the reigning continental champions from FIFA’s six confederations – Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America and CONCACAF – the grouping of north American and Caribbean countries.
Either Cameroon or Egypt will play in Group B at the tournament, where their opponents will be Australia, Chile and world champions Germany.
The other group at the Confederation Cup is made up of Mexico, New Zealand, European champions Portugal and the hosts.
The African champions will start in Moscow against Chile on June 18, then play in St Petersburg against Australia on June 22 and conclude against the Germans in Sochi on June 25.
The top two teams from each group advance to semifinals and the final is in St Petersburg in July 2.
It is the 10th time that the tournament is hosted. Africa have yet to have any success but Cameroon did compete in the final in France in 2003, a tournament infamous for the death of midfielder Marc Vivien-Foe. He collapsed with a suspected heart attack in the semifinal.
Foe died in the match against Colombia in Lyon but Cameroon players agreed to compete in the final against France three days later, which they lost to an extra time goal from Thierry Henry.