Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper Boubacar Barry was delighted to silence his critics and deliver a second Africa Cup of Nations title at the expense of Ghana.
Barry had not played a single minute throughout the tournament before the final, but was called upon to step in in the absence of Sylvain Gbohouo.
And the 35-year-old was the centre of attention in the penalty shoot-out in Bata, which the    Ivorians won 9-8 to lift the continental trophy.
The Lokeren custodian watched on as team-mates Wilfried Bony and Gadji Tallo missed the target in his side’s first two spot kicks, but Barry saved Ghana’s third attempt – taken by Afriyie Acquah – and when Frank Acheampong put the Black Stars’ fourth penalty wide, it allowed the Elephants to draw level and send it to sudden death.
Barry added to the drama by appearing injured on two separate occasions in the shoot-out, most noticeably before being required to take what turned out to be the decisive spot-kick. The keeper had saved opposite number Razak Brimah’s penalty, before then stepping up to tuck away the winner.
The shot stopper could hardly contain his elation after defying his critics to be the hero for his country.
“I have been criticised, but I am able to progress,” an emotional Barry told Canal+.
“I’m not big in talent nor in size, but I want to progress, I worked for the team.  My mum suffered. Thanks to her, thank you to all Ivorians.
“Football allowed me to travel, there is no room for everyone; but there is room for the work. God rewarded me.”
Meanwhile, Herve Renard dedicated the trophy to the Ivorian population.
“I’m happy for the Ivorian people,” Renard was quoted as saying by L’Equipe. “They have been rewarded.
“This victory is magic for everyone. It brings [together] even those who do not share the same opinions.
“Ivory Coast will be delighted and this is the most important thing.
“I felt we could win this tournament after the game against a great Cameroon. We were in a very difficult group and the players did what we never imagined.
“At 2-0 down on penalties, I told myself that history would repeat itself, there was belief to the end.
“Just before Barry hits the penalty, I said, ‘a goalkeeper who worked with Jean-Marc Guillou is able to pull it off’.”
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