AFCON’s greatest exploits: Ad-Diba without doubt the most emblematic – At a glance

Mohammed Diab Al Attar, you may not have heard of him? Well, the Egyptian nicknamed Ad-Diba managed to be best player, top scorer and referee of an African Cup of Nations final.

Tomorrow, December 30, 2023, Mohammed Diab Al Attar will be seven years underground. Even before he left this world at the age of 89, the Pharaoh had begun to be forgotten and yet, if only one major player in the Africa Cup of Nations had to be remembered, the former Zamalek striker would be the ideal candidate. The Marseillais’ “A jamais les premiers” suits him perfectly.


Mohammed Diab Al Attar, 4 goals in the first final

Ad-Diba, as he was known, was part of the Egyptian team that won the first-ever African Cup of Nations in 1957 in Sudan. Not only was he part of the campaign, he also left his mark on it, splashing his talent all over it. Mohammed Diab Al Attar scored the winning goal for the Egyptians in the semi-final against Sudan (2-1), before lighting up the final against Ethiopia. Egypt won 4-0 and he scored all four goals: two in the first half (2nd and 7th) and two more after half-time (68th and 89th). Top scorer with 5 goals in two games, he was logically also named best player of the competition.

Mohammed Diab Al Attar premier meilleur buteur de la CAN

Referee of the 68 final Two years later, in 1959, and this time in front of his home crowd, Ad-Diba once again won the AFCON and was once again named the competition’s best player. Mohammed Diab Al Attar was certainly tired of winning and breaking everything on the pitch, and in 1968 he decided to swap his red Pharaohs jersey for the black referees’ tunic.

He put away his soccer boots, whistle in hand, and enforced the laws of the game. In 1968 in Ethiopia, during the 6th edition of the African Cup of Nations, the Egyptian witnessed Congo Kinshasa’s first triumph. Ad-Diba refereed the final, which the Leopards won 1-0 over Ghana, the defending champions at the time. He remained a referee until 1976, when he retired.

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