London, England (CNN) -- It began under a hail of bullets, and ended in a manner fans have become accustomed to in recent years: Egypt walked away with a record-breaking third consecutive Africa Cup of Nations title on Sunday after defeating Ghana 1-0 in Angola's capital Luanda.
The triumphant pictures of joy, of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary sitting atop his crossbar in celebration as he did when The Pharaohs emerged victorious two years ago, could not have been further from the grim reminder of Angola's recent civil conflict just over three weeks ago.
Then, three members of the Togo national team staff were killed as rebels from the Angolan exclave of Cabinda - a troubled, oil-rich region which has been plagued by separatist violence for decades - opened fire on their team bus.
At the time, as TV pictures of a distraught Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor beamed around the world and the Togolese president insisted that the team pull out and come home, some wondered whether the tournament should still go ahead.
Others in Europe, like Phil Brown, coach of English Premier League side Hull City who had Gabon striker Daniel Cousin at the tournament, even suggested that the attack raised serious questions over South Africa's ability to host the World Cup.
"I am appalled. This throws a question mark against next summer's World Cup," he told a press conference after the Togo attack. "You simply cannot put the safety of players, officials and fans at the slightest risk. That is totally unacceptable."
But go ahead it did, with football finally taking center stage as a fascinating tournament unfolded. The question is, what lessons have we learnt from Angola's Africa Cup of Nations, coming as it does just six months before the continent hosts its very first World Cup in June?