Mabululu goal celebration compared to Bafetimbi Gomis explained

AFCON 2023 Mabululu goal celebration compared to Bafetimbi Gomis explained

Festus Chuma 21:00 - 28.01.2024

Mabululu's goal celebration, reminiscent of Gomis and Saint-Étienne's legacy, is decoded in the context of African football's rich traditions.

On Saturday night as the stars twinkled above the African continent a moment of football brilliance unfolded that caught the eyes of millions.

Angola international Agostinho Cristóvão Paciência, best known as Mabululu, not only etched his name on the scoresheet against Namibia, propelling his nation to a 3-0 victory that booked their place in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations but also reignited a legacy with his iconic 'panther celebration'

The Ittihad of Alexandria's talisman, now ranking third on the top goalscorers list, is trailing close behind his teammate Gelson Dala and the renowned Emilio Nsue.

Mabululu's celebration, a spectacle in its own right, has been the chatter of every town, reminiscent of the panther-like prowess of former France international Bafetimbi Gomis.

This symbolic gesture finds its roots in the storied history of Les Verts, particularly during the era of Malian striking legend Salif Keita.

Keita's phenomenal record of 125 goals in 149 appearances for Saint-Étienne instilled the panther as an emblem of fearlessness and prowess within the club. A testament to this is a vivid Tifo from a Saint-Étienne-Lyon game, echoing the spirit of the panther across generations.

Following Keita's footsteps, numerous Les Verts players have embraced the panther, paying homage through their celebrations. Notably, Brazilian striker Alex Diaz replicated the iconic gesture after a remarkable four-goal haul against Marseille in 2000.

Gomis, too, perpetuated this tradition upon his breakthrough with the Saint-Étienne first team and later introduced it to the Premier League during his tenure at Swansea, making it one of the league's most unique and frequent goal celebrations.

Mabululu's rendition of the panther celebration at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations has stirred discussions far and wide. Is it the finest celebration the tournament has seen thus far?

This question lingers in the air, as the competition is rife with artistic and eye-catching celebrations, each adding a distinct flavor to the football fiesta.

The tournament has been a canvas for emotions, with celebrations like the classic pitch slide, adding a touch of nostalgia against the backdrop of Cote d'Ivoire's lush green stadiums.

The group stages alone have unfolded a spectacle of celebrations that have captivated a global audience. The Eagles of Mali's military salute stands out, embodying pride and precision, eagerly awaited by their fans in the upcoming rounds.

Adding to the melange of celebrations, Jean-Philippe Krasso of Cote d'Ivoire has been the tournament's somersault maestro, infusing acrobatics into his goal celebrations.

Deon Hotto from Namibia and Mostafa Mohamed of Egypt have contributed their unique celebrations, the latter paying homage to "Wakanda", beautifully intertwining football with the facets of popular culture.

Not to be overlooked is the Nzalang Choreography by Equatorial Guinea's players, a dance that sparked waves of excitement across social media platforms. 

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