This is the story behind the Mascot of Egypt 2019 TUT:

The Mascot was named after arguably Egypt’s most popular Pharaoh who ascended the throne at the age of nine and reigned for 10 years and was against the customs given a humble burial which turned out to a blessing.

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled c. 1332 – 1323 BC in the conventional chronology), a period known as the New Kingdom in Egyptian history. He has, since the discovery of his intact tomb, been referred to colloquially as King Tut.

After his death, Tut was buried some 400 miles away from Cairo at the valley of the kings, were all Egyptian Pharaohs and royalty were buried.

It was a tradition in ancient Egypt to bury Pharaohs within a period of at most 70 days with all what they will need in the next life, which meant they were buried with a lot of valuable items and this became a target for tomb rubbers who emptied almost every grave of all the Pharaoh and made away with all the precious things they were buried with, to prepare them for life in the world beyond.

He ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten, taking the throne name Nebkheperure.

There are no surviving records of what actually killed Tut. The cause of his death has been the subject of considerable debate and major studies and research have been done to come out with a conclusive finding. A CT scan taken in 2005 showed that he had sustained a left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected. DNA analysis conducted in 2010 showed the presence of malaria in his system, leading to the belief that a combination of malaria and Köhler disease II led to his death.

Tut was succeeded by Ay who even got married to his widow leading to wide suggestions that his grand uncle who succeeded him deliberately gave him a low profile burial so that he keeps the glory to himself and take away the shine from the young pharaoh.

Thousands of years after his death, the boy king was back to the centre of Egypt and a staggering discovery was made in 1922 by a British archeologist, Howard Carter.

In 1922 Howard Carter discovered Tut’s tomb, nearly intact. His research was funded by Lord Carnarvon, and received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun’s mask, a precious piece or arts work known as the mask of death, now in the Egyptian Museum, remains a popular symbol.

It took over ten years for the close to 5000 objects found in his tomb to transported across the desert from the valley of the kings to central Cairo.

The deaths of a few involved in the discovery of Tutankhamun’s mummy have been popularly attributed to the curse of the pharaohs.

Tut was buried with golden effigies, elaborate beds, clothing, and weapons, six chariots amongst other things but above all the 20 grams golden death mask and a special dagger that was found inside his coffin and on his body.

Although many thought of him as a frail boy King acting under the whims and caprices of Ay his eventual successor, Tut was a warrior hungry for power in this world and beyond just like the 24 teams that converged in Egypt on June 21st struggling to conquer and rule the African football family with the prospect FIFA Confederations Cup providing a platform to challenge the world later.

The blade of the famous dagger found on his body was made of iron. Iron was rarer in Egypt at that time than gold, so it was obvious that the blade was not mined in Egypt. After examining the blade, it was discovered that it had unusual high proportions of Nickel, which did not match with any part of the earth. The origin of the iron on the dagger was traced to Mars; it was believed to have been like a gift from God.

Just like the blade on Tut’s dagger, a win in the final this Friday July 19, 2019 in the AFCON will be nothing short of a precious gift from God with Senegal playing in their second final in 15 appearances and are yet to win the trophy. For Algeria who are in their third final in their 18th AFCON appearance after losing to Nigeria in 1980 and taking their revenge 10 years later, they have had to endure a painful 29 years wait, it also makes a win tomorrow nothing short from a gift from God.

Under the six chariots discovered in Tut’s tomb were 15000 fragments of gold plaited leather which were decorations on his chariots and horses.

It took Dr Christian Eckman three years to put them together and solve the puzzle to bring out the image behind those fragments. The final picture showed Tut in the centre of the world, just like either Senegal or Algeria, will be tomorrow if they succeed to become African champions at a time that the Africa Cup of Nations has taken centre-stage in global football with no other international tournament going on right now.

Prof Salima Ikram describes the image as a design that showed Tut’s ambition far beyond Egypt, with distinctive captives in chains and shackles, to show that Egypt was the ruler of the north and south as well as the east and the west and Tut set out as a leader looking to dominate the ancient world. The same could be said about whoever will conquer Africa tomorrow in her maiden 24 team AFCON, with Africa clearly hoping to rule the world one day in football though it remains a far cry.

14 out of 54 African nations have succeeded to win the African Cup of Nations, there is a good chance for Senegal to add their name to that list today and make it 15, with a large number of unsuccessful countries looking on with great envy.

Considered by some as a frail boy king, the world’s most famous Pharaoh might have been a warrior king despite his tender age, his humble tomb kept his treasures safe and their eventually discovery almost 3500 years after his death, have catapulted him to more fame than he could have ever imagined. He might have been buried to be forgotten but his memories will live forever just like the memories of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when either Djamel Belmadi or Aliou Cisse will become national cult heroes if they succeed to lead their teams to AFCON glory. They prepared meticulously without noise and turmoil unlike their opponents and when it was time they let their football talk for them just like the discoveries in Tut’s tomb did for him. The winner will walk away with Tut’s death mask from the Cairo Museum , symbolized by the AFCON trophy, which one of those teams will take home today from the Cairo International Stadium. Many did not give them a chance to go all the way but rather fancied the likes of Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco or Nigeria, but they forgot that these two team had their hidden treasures, hard work and discipline, and these treasures will speak even more tomorrow for the winners.

Muambo Edward.