A virtual unknown six months ago, Christian Bassogog was named as the 2017 AFCON Player of the Tournament after some outstanding performances helped Cameroon win the title for the first time in 15 years.
The focus ahead of the tournament had been on the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez, but it was the 21-year-old Bassogog, who plays for Aalborg BK in the Danish Superliga, who lit up the fields of Gabon.
He scored a wonderful goal to seal Cameroon’s 2-0 win over Ghana in the semi-final and was a threat throughout the competition with his pace and willingness to run at opposition defences.
The powerful left-footer started every game and became the first Cameroon player since Rigobert Song in 2002 to win AFCON’s best player prize.
Bassogog only made his senior debut for the Indomitable Lions just two months ago.
His career has taken off extremely rapidly – in November 2014 he was spotted by an American scout while playing for Cameroon second division side Rainbow FC. He spent a season at Wilmington Hammerheads – a third division club in North Carolina in the United States, before moving to Aalborg BK in Denmark for the 2015/16 season.
Cameroon manager Hugo Broos was the first to admit that Bassogog had not even been on his radar six months ago.
“If you asked me this question five months ago, ‘You know Bassogog?’ I’d say ‘Who?’
‘I didn’t know him. We were looking for players – it’s easy now, you go on the internet, type in Cameroon players, find a list from Azerbaijan to I don’t know where. They’re playing everywhere.
“I had some friends, old players for me in Denmark, so I phoned them. I said ‘I see there’s this guy, Bassogog, what kind of player is he?” Broos told the Daily Mail.