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Mulamba and Pokou – the shining stars in the Afcon galaxy

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Mulamba and Pokou - the shining stars in the Afcon galaxy - Sports Leo

Looking at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) all-time top scorers list, two names stand out – DR Congo’s Pierre Ndaye Mulamba and Ivory Coast’s Laurent Pokou.

While Pokou sits second on the list with 14 goals, four shy of record scorer Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, DR Congo’s Mulamba has 10 goals to his name. However, both are in the Afcon book of records for different reasons.

Mulamba holds the record for the historical top scorer when it comes to a single edition.

“Mutumbula” as he was known among his supporters scored nine goals in Egypt 1974 as the Leopards grabbed the title, is a record which still stands.

In contrast, Pokou who was the top scorer in two consecutive editions holds another record, having scored five goals in a single match when Ivory Coast defeated Ethiopia 6-1 in Sudan 1970.

After playing a role in DR Congo’s (then Zaire) qualification to the 1974 World Cup, Mulamba came to Egypt with Les Leopards to take part in the 1974 Afcon. He emerged as the tournament’s most valuable player and top scorer after netting nine goals in six matches.

Mutumbula scored a brace against Guinea and another goal against Mauritius in the group stage. In the semifinal, he added another brace as Zaire stunned hosts Egypt to reach the final. Against Zambia, he scored another brace, and as the final ended in a 2-2 draw it was replayed 48 hours later, with Mulamba scoring two more goals to see his side winning the trophy.

Mulamba also won the African Champions League (then African Cup of Champion Clubs) with AS Vita in 1973. He died in January 2019, aged 70. He was honoured with a minute of silence during the final group matches at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt 2019.

After scoring six goals for Ivory Coast in the 1968 Afcon edition, Pokou returned to score eight in the next edition in Sudan 1970. He kept the record of most scored goals in Afcon history until 2008 when it was surpassed by Eto’o.

But Pokou keeps another record, one of most goals scored by a player in a single match.

Against Ethiopia in the group stage, Pokou scored five goals as Les Elephants emerged 6-1 victorious.

Nicknamed ‘Asmara’, Pokou played for domestic giants Asec Mimosas, and in France for Rennes and Nancy. He died in November 2016, aged 69.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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