Niger forward Soumana Boubacar Hainikoye has thanked his teammates and honoured them with his TotalEnergies Man of the Match award following their qualification to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Hainikoye spoke with excitement and content saying that it has been a long time coming for them to play the way that they did to eliminate Cameroon after a 1-0 victory at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium to finish top of Group E with four points.
“It is a great pleasure for me and the team. I am very happy to receive this award and I dedicate it to all my teammates who have worked so hard to reach this level. It is incredible what we have achieved here tonight. I am so happy,” Hainikoye told the media on an incredible night in Oran.
The USGN forward added that “We found ourselves in a do-or-die situation. We came up against a team that already had three points. We wanted to keep a clean sheet because we can always score a goal. We stuck to our plan and it worked.”
Hainikoye, who featured for Algerian side CR Belouizdad in the top-flight league in the 2018/19 season scoring his first goal against MC Oran, acknowledged that Oran has been a special city for him.
“I maintained a good relationship not only with CR Belouizdad fans but all Algerian fans so to perform like this in Oran is very special for me and I am so humbled by this kind of support. We saw it from the stands of the Nigerien and Algerian fans and we are grateful. Thank you for supporting us,” the emotional Hainikoye said.
Niger will now face Ghana in the last quarter-final on 28 January at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran at 1900GMT.