Crystal Palace’s Patrick Vieira reveals powerful message to Cheikhou Kouyaté ahead AFCON final

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira says he knows what it will mean for his midfielder to win the trophy with Senegal.

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira was full of smiles when revealing he had been talking to midfielder Cheikhou Kouyaté ahead of the AFCON final on Sunday.

Kouyaté, a losing finalist in the last edition, has made it to the big dance again with the Teranga Lions, where they will face Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.

Egypt are the most successful team in the history of the AFCON, winning the competition a record seven times, and aiming for eighth on Sunday.

Bizarrely, despite being one of the best teams on the African continent, Senegal have never won the AFCON, with this golden generation running out of time.

Led by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, and supported by Palace’ hard-working midfielder Cheikhou Kouyaté, Senegal will attempt to make history and win their first AFCON title.

CHEIKHOU KOUYATE celebrates scoring Senegal’s second goal during the Africa Cup (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira, himself born in Senegal but raised in France, told LondonWorld he had been in contact with the midfielder and knows that a win on Sunday will bring unprecedented joy to the midfielder and the people of Senegal.

He said: “Yes I have watched a couple of the games and I have been in touch with him and exchanged messages throughout the tournament, I have wished him well and I hope he wins it.

“He’s always wanted to win it and I know what winning it will mean to him and his country.

“They came close the last time and it didn’t quite happen, and if they can win it this time around it will mean something huge to the people.”

Patrick Vieira of Crystal Palace looks on ahead of the Premier League match (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

How can you watch the AFCON final in London

The match will be televised on Sky Sports Premier League, Football and Main Event channels, as well as BBC Three, the BBC Sport website and the iPlayer.

Team news ahead of the AFCON final

Egypt will be without full back Omar Kamal, who will miss the game due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Coach Carlos Queiroz will also miss the game, having been sent off, for aggressively protesting throughout the semi-final against Cameroon.

Barring any last minute Covid concerns, Senegal should have a full squad for the game as they go in search of their first ever AFCON triumph.

Head-to-head

Egypt has the better record when it comes to head-to-head between the two countries.

Egypt 6

Senegal 4

Draw 2