Cheikhou Kouyate got a received recognition from Crystal Palace following his Africa Cup of Nations triumph with Senegal.
Cheikhou Kouyate who is 32-year-old was one of the Lions of Teranga’s key performers as they ended their wait to lift Afcon.
Kouyate got a goal for the West Africans as they subdued Equatorial Guinea 3-1 in a quarter-final match played at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
And the former West Ham United player was well received by his Eagles teammates on Tuesday as Patrick Vieira’s men stepped up preparations for this weekend’s Premier League showdown with Chelsea.
Kouyate was celebrated by the squad and staff, who formed a guard of honour before captain Luka Milivojevic presented him with an ‘Afcon 2022 Champions’ Crystal Palace shirt
“The champion is back,” the Serbia midfielder said.
The African star went ahead to disclose how Aliou Cisse’s team ruled Africa after a difficult start.
“I can’t explain this happiness,” Kouyate said.
“It’s unbelievable – it was the best day of my life. The celebrations were too much!
“It’s crazy because we know it’s the first trophy for Senegal, and for us also it means we are now in the story of Senegal.
“When we were younger and Senegal were playing, we would support the team. Now you are a player in the team, and you bring home the cup.”
The Senegal international is expected to play a role when the Selhurst Park giants square up against the reigning European kings.
Prior to that game, the Londoners had gone on a run of three matches without defeat in all competitions.
Meanwhile, manager Vieira focused on his side’s defensive positives following the 0-0 draw with Brentford last time out.
“I think we played at times some good football, but we didn’t really compete offensively. On the other side defensively we did fantastically well,” he told the club website.
“It was a tough place to come, we defended well at the set pieces, we were well organised and managed to win the second ball. I think there are some really positive messages to take.
“I think the approach of both teams was really clear: we both wanted to win the game. But sometimes the organisation doesn’t allow you to perform.