FOOTBALL : Chipolopolo in paradise
Zambia has been crowned 2012 African champions after a wonderful campaign. It is the victory of collective game, of consistency, youth, patience and humility. In Libreville, a refreshing wind blew on African football.
By winning their first African Cup of Nations, Zambian players have also made a feat that is as extraordinary as symbolic. They deprive Cote d’Ivoire, one of the best African teams of the past twenty years, from the continental title, and have paid a moving tribute to their elders who died in a tragic plane crash in 1993, a short distance from the Libreville stadium. Great and wonderful wink of fate. The forces of the spirit were clearly on the side of the Chipolopolo. It was understood when we saw the inevitable Didier Drogba missed a penalty in the heart of the game, thus allowing coach Herve Renard’s men to go and pick their first star at the end of the tropical night. Once the final whistle was blown by the referee, some signs then appeared so visible, and then came the unbearable series of penalties shoot out where the Zambians closely marked their opponents until the eighth and ninth Ivorian penalty missed by the stars of the English Premier League, namely Kolo Toure and Gervinho. And it is Sunzu, the unknown on the international scene, Sunzu the young promising of the TP Mzembe, who delivered his team. An offering made to the deceased of the REG – AF-319 flight and an offering made to the Zambian people who prayed all night for his players. Besides the strong symbolism, let us not forget as well that this success is also the one of the team which made the best impression. A balanced, coherent, playful, without inaccessible stars, masterfully directed by a coach, Herve Renard, with a CV as tiny as is his physical appearance of first youth in search of recognition. The French coach did stopped repeating, since the early hours of the qualification, and throughout the course of the final phase that, in Zambia the star was the team.
Moreover, the Zambians were the only ones who had never hidden their game. They repeated and reiterated that if others did see them as potential winners, they thought they had the means to tease the best and that they were ready to play their cards. Successful bet. Naysayers who are tempted to minimize the triumph of the men of Lusaka, claiming that this edition co-organized by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea was devalued by the absence of some supposed big locomotives will have it all the wrong. Because when you look carefully at the course of the Chipolopolo in this AFCON, we can realize that they have sunk, without trembling, Senegal, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. We are a bit sorry! Another good news for Africa, Zambia is one of the few teams whose large nucleus plays on the continent.
Apart from those playing in their own country, about ten players play African championships including seven in PSL (Premier Soccer League) in South Africa.
An observation is glaring: the last four editions of the AFCON escaped the armadas of stars playing in Europe. Egypt in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and Zambia in 2012 show that there may be another way to reach the nirvana of success. Food for thought.
The winning team in the finals of the 2012 AFCON K.ennedy Mween, J. Joseph Musonda (Nyambe Mulenga, 10th PUIS Felix Katongo 74 ‘), Stophira Sunzu, Hichani Himoonde, Nkausu Davies, Isaac Chansa Rainford Kalaba, Chisamba Lungu, Nathan Sinkala, E.mmanuel Mayuka, Chris Katongo.Coach: Hervé Renard.
* Zambia in the finals of the African Cup of Nations
1974: Final (Zaire 2 Zambia 2), 1978: 1st round, 1982: 3rd place (Zambia 2 Algeria 0) 1986: 1st round, 1990: 3rd place (Zambia 1 Senegal 0), 1992: Quarter Final (Zambia 0 Côte d’Ivoire 1) 1994: Final (Nigeria 2 Zambia 1) 1996: 3rd place (Zambia 1 Ghana 0), 1998: 1st round, 2000: 1st round, 2002: 1st round, 2006: 1st round, 2008: 1st round, 2010: Quarter Final (Zambia 0 Nigeria 0) In 2012. Champion (Zambia 0 Cote d’Ivoire 0 (8 penalties shoot out against 7)
* The 18 deceased in the plane crash of April 27, 1993
Goalkeepers: Efford Chabala and Richard Mwanza
Defenders: Kenan Simambe, Winter Mumba, Samuel Chomba, Whiteson Changwe Watiyakeni Robert, John Soko
Midfielders: Eston Mulenga, Derby Makinka, Chikwalakwala Moses, Wisdom Mumba Chansa, Godfrey Kangwa and Numba Mwila
Strikers: Kelvin “Malaza” Mutale, Timothy Mwitwa, Moses Masuwa and Patrick ‘Bomber’ Banda
Coaches: Godfrey “Ucar” Chitalu, Alex Chola and Wilson Sakala