}

Zambia Versus Ivory Coast – Zambia, The New African Champions!

The Zambia versus Ivory Coast match marked the grand finale to the African cup of nation's championship [AFCON]. Zambia was ranked as underdogs and Ivory Coast was one of the favorite teams at the tournament.


But the story was turned round and the lowly ranked Zambia were the AFCON 2012 Champions. The trophy came from the same place where the country has bitter memories of its late national soccer team which perished in an air crush off the coast of Gabon.

The Zambia national soccer team, known as the chipolopolo to the local soccer fans, was the champions of the 28th edition of the African nation's cup. [AFCON].The tournament was held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea from 21st January to 12th February. The final featuring Ivory Coast and Zambia, was held in the Gabonese capital Libreville.

chipolopolo Chipolopolo

The victory by Zambia had come after a succession of appearances at the African nation's cup, which didn't yield anything. The best performance was in 1974 and 1994 when the chipolopolo [Zambia national soccer team] came second best on both occasions.

This time around, the Zambia national soccer team surprised even the bookmakers by winning all the preliminary matches including the match against the tournament favorites Ghana and the co-host Equatorial Guinea.

Ivory Coast got to the finals undefeated, while Zambia's performance was lowered when they drew with Libya in the early rounds, but the draw was attributed to a soggy pitch.

Herve Rernard, the chipolopolo coach, still insisted on using the same players who had come so far in the tournament. And in the Zambia versus Ivory Coast match, they didn't disappoint him, though he was forced to do away with some players like Joseph Musonda due to an injury.

The first half was an even affair and Ivory Coast soon realized they were up against a difficult opponent. Their captain Didier Drogba was finding it difficult in the forefront and he missed some chances including a penalty, which dampened the morale of his team mates a bit. Both teams did a lot of running in the first half and they got tired towards the end of the first half. The first 45 minutes of the game registered no goals.

The second half started with a lot of vibrancy from both teams. Ivory Coast, who have won the cup before, were trying their best to get their second African cup of nation's trophy.

The Zambia national soccer team goal keeper, Kennedy Mweene, who had been at his best in the tournament so far, did some very remarkable saves which would have otherwise turned the game in the Ivorian's favor.

The thrilling second half also ended in a dead lock and the teams went into extra time. There wasn't much change in their kind of play but both teams missed scoring chances. After 120 minutes, they had no alternative but to go for the nerve wreaking penalty kicks.

Penalties

Both teams scored their first six penalties but the next minutes were unnerving…

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure missed the seventh penalty for Ivory Coast, giving the advantage to Zambia. However, when Rainford Kalaba stepped up to take the penalty, the sport kick went skyways.

Then came in another high-profile player – Arsenal’s Gervinho to save his country but he too shot wide.

However, when Sunzu from the Zambian side came in, he scored and it was Chipolopolo first – ever Africa cup!

Related Pages

Zambia Versus Senegal on 21st January 2012, in Equatorial Guinea.

Zambia Versus Libya at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on 25th January 2012.

Zambia Versus Equatorial Guinea at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on 25th January 2012.

Zambia Versus Sudan at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on 4th February 2012.

Zambia Versus Ghana at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on 8th February 2012.



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