|It's Victory for Copper Bullets|
Zambia coach Herve Renard has christened himself “Africa’s chosen coach” after helping his side overcome the odds and win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. The French tactician guided the Chipolopolo to their maiden Cup of Nations title after winning the West versus South battle against the much fancied Ivory Coast in a dramatic post-match penalty shoot-out.
The Southern Africans completed what can only be termed as a fairy tale which saw them overcome all the pre-tournament favourites Senegal in group stages, Ghana in the semi-finals and the Elephants in the finals played in front of a capacity crowd in Libreville, Gabon.
The two teams could not find the back of the net in normal time with the main highlight being Didier Drogba’s penalty miss in the 69th minute after Gervais Yao Kouassi alias Gervinho had been brought down in the box by Isaac Chansa. The inspirational captain blasted the spot kick high over the bar to deny his team the chance of winning the game in normal time.
Zambia had the best chance to score in extra time but the hard-fighting captain Christopher Katongo saw his shot saved by Barry’s extended legs. With no goals to report at the end of 120 minutes, the two teams went into the dreaded post-match penalties.
Both teams successfully converted their first six penalties. Kolo Toure then missed his spot kick and put the hopes of the Zambian people on the back of 25-year-old Rainford Kalaba. However, the TP Mazembe midfielder also missed his spot kick to warrant another round of penalties. Forward stepped Gervinho and the flying winger sent the impressive Zambia keeper Mweene the wrong way but hit his shot high and wide.
The bandwagon had again shifted to the Zambians and surely they had to make this count. Up stepped 22-year-old Stophira Sunzu. He took his time alright and when he decided to strike, it was good enough to send the 13million Zambians into jubilation as the Copper Bullets won their first Cup of Nations title, and inside a land where they had lost an entire team in an aircraft accident just 19 years ago.
It's been a special campaign for 'Africa's Chosen One' and his charges. South Africa 2013 is beckoning. Congratulations to Zambia, Africa's newest powerhouse!!
Team of the tournament – 4-4-2
Kennedy Mweene - Zambia
Jean-Jacques Gosso - Ivory Coast
Stophira Sunzu - Zambia
John Mensah - Ghana
Adama Tamboura - Mali
Emmanuel Mayuka - Zambia
Yaya Touré - Ivory Coast
Gervinho - Ivory Coast
Seydou Keita - Mali
Christopher Katongo - Zambia (also player of the tournament)
Didier Drogba - Ivory Coast
And That's thesteifmastertake!!