Sydney, Olympic Stadium, 30 September 2000, Games of the XXVII Olympiad: Patrick MBOMA of Cameroon in action during the football final. Cameroon went on to win the gold medal. Credit: Getty Images/Yo NAGAYA
Born: 15 November 1970
Birthplace: Douala (Cameroun)
ATTENDANCE AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
African Cup of Nations
Or : 2 (00, 02)
An indomitable lion
Born in Cameroon, Patrick Mboma moved with his family to France when he was two years old. He had already played professionally in France, Japan and Italy, when he hit his peak in 2000. Early in the year, he led the "Indomitable Lions" of Cameroon to victory in the African Nations' Cup. Considered outsiders at the Sydney Olympics, the Cameroon team attracted little attention during pool play, beating Kuwait 3-2 and tying both the United States and the Czech Republic 1-1. But in their quarterfinal match-up against Brazil, they began a thrilling and unexpected run. Mboma scored in the 17th minute to give his team a 1-0 halftime lead. They held onto their advantage deep into the second half, but then two Cameroonian players received red cards, leaving the team two men short. With seconds remaining in regulation, Ronaldinho scored on a free kick to send the game into overtime. Despite playing with only nine men, Cameroon survived the overtime and then won the penalty shootout. In the semifinals, Cameroon trailed Chile 1-0 with six minutes to play when Mboma scored to tie the game. With only one minute left in regulation, Mboma drew a foul in the penalty box. Lauren Etame-Mayer converted the penalty and the Cameroonians moved on to the final, which they played against Spain before a crowd of 98,212. Cameroon fell behind 0-2 after the first half, but eight minutes into the second half, Mboma fired a cross that deflected off the face of a Spanish defender and into the goal. Five minutes later, Samuel Eto'o tapped in another cross from Mboma to tie the game. There was no more scoring in regulation or in overtime, but Cameroon won the penalty shootout 5-3 to earn the Olympic championship. Chosen African Footballer of the Year in 2000, Mboma went on to lead Cameroon to victory again in the 2002 African Nations' Cup.