The 29-year-old was the game changer against Equatorial Guinea scoring minutes after coming in the second half, before Watford’s returning winger Ismaïla Sarr powered home from close range to seal a 3-1 victory for the Teranga Lions.
Kouyate, often calm and measured in victory, was full of emotions after the win against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, and spoke proudly about his dream of winning the AFCON for his country and fulfilling a childhood dream.
“We deserved the win against Equatorial Guinea and we have been working hard and progressing slowly throughout this tournament,” the Palace midfielder told LondonWorld
“All the games are tough here and when you get to the knockout stages of the AFCON you need a bit of luck and pray to avoid any bad injuries and I must say we are together so fingers crossed one after the other.
“I won’t say anything, we all know what winning the AFCON will mean to all of us.”
Senegal and Kouyate will now turn attention to tonight’s crucial semi-final against Burkina Faso.
The Teranga Lions are favourites and will be hoping that their experience of losing the final to Algeria, two years ago in Egypt, will count when they face the Stallions for a place in the final.
“We need to remain humble and we need to stay focused if we want to win this tournament,” the Crystal Palace midfielder added.
“We don’t have to put ourselves under any other pressure, we just have to stay humble and if we want to win this game we need to go there fighting.”
Kouyate has been keeping up to date with all that is happening in South London.
He’s missed games against Liverpool and Brighton in the league and cannot wait to be back helping the team out.
But for the next seven days he is hoping all Palace fans will support him to achieve his childhood dream and bring joy to his people.
“I really feel the support and I know that they are watching,” he told LondonWorld.
“I will be back but for now I want them to support me and help win the AFCON so I can return as a champion and we have a great season together.”
Senegal are regarded widely as one of the best countries in Africa, producing a legion of talented players who ply their trade in top clubs in Europe.
But surprisingly they have never won the AFCON, reaching the final twice and losing to Cameroon and Algeria on both occasions.