FIFA Museum adds a piece of African football history to its collection

The FIFA Museum acquired the shirt of Comoros defender Chaker Alhadhur from the round of 16 match against hosts Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations in January where he found himself in the position of goalkeeper.

The story of Comoros at the Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 would make a decent fairy tale. The small nation, currently ranked 128th place on the FIFA world ranking, qualified for the tournament for the first time. Their debut included beating four-time champions Ghana in the group stage, knocking the star-studded team out and securing Comoros a historic place in the knockouts. In the biggest game in their history, Comoros faced off against hosts and tournament favourites Cameroon. And at this game, the story would take a dramatic turn.

click to enlarge © Imago

Goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina was out with an injury. Nine other players were not fit to play due to testing positive for Covid-19, including both back-up goalies. Thus, the team suddenly found themselves without a goalkeeper. But the tournament rules clearly state that a team must play if they have 11 fit players, regardless of their position. This is where defender Chaker Alhadhur saved the day.

Left-back Alhadhur stepped in as goalkeeper for the match against Cameroon. A decision that would end in him becoming a national hero and earn a well-deserved spot in football history.

Knowing that his task wasn’t exactly easy, it became even harder after just seven minutes of play, when captain and center back Nadjim Abdou was sent off. Miraculously, Comoros held Cameroon at a goalless draw until the 29th minute when Cameroon’s Toko Ekambi hit the back of the net. But even as the tide shifted, Comoros didn’t give in and kept Cameroon working hard. Alhadhur stepped into his new role brilliantly, making a total of four saves. After conceding a second goal in the 70th minute, Comoros got one back when Youssouf M'Changama scored eleven minutes later with a beautiful direct free-kick from far outside the box.

Click to enlarge © FIFA Museum

In the end, Comoros were defeated, but left the pitch with their heads held high, especially their unlikely goalkeeper.

To commemorate this unforgettable moment in African football history, the FIFA Museum is proud to add the jersey Alhadhur wore during this match to its collection. The makeshift number three on its back commemorates this special moment and is a testament to the strength and willingness to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. It is a worthy addition to the FIFA Museum Collection and we are very much looking forward to find the perfect opportunity to put the jersey on display for the public.