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Stewart Coggin

Ecstasy for Zambia, Agony for Ivory Coast

By February 13, 2012

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Zambia pulled off one of the biggest shocks in recent Africa Cup of Nations history by beating Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties in the final.

This victory, which came after 120 minutes of goalless soccer, was achieved against the odds. Zambia were up against the tournament favorites in Ivory Coast, a team who did not concede a goal in open play in the whole event.

Zambia had to survive a Didier Drogba penalty miss in normal time, and a bizarre decision to allow Souleymane Bamba to re-take his missed spot kick in the shoot-out.

To see the Zambia players and coaching staff singing with the shoot-out in progress was truly heart-warming.

And your heart must go out to Kolo Toure and Gervinho, both of whom missed their penalties before Stoppila Sunzu converted his to trigger jubilant and emotional scenes.

Ivory Coast can at least be consoled by the fact there will be another Africa Cup of Nations next year and an opportunity to right the wrongs of 2012. But this will be a painful blow for a side who regularly go into the tournament among the favorites, only to underachieve on the grand stage. They will not get a better chance to win their second Africa Cup of Nations. Drogba, the Toure brothers and co are not getting any younger.

Asked if this was the end of the so-called 'Golden Generation' coach Francis Zahoui said: "Off the cuff we can't make a decision like that. The players produced a lot of effort, they gave their all."

Comments

February 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm
(1) Dr. Cajetan Coelho says:

Congrats Zambia. All the best to Runners up Ivory Coast in the soon-to-come fresh edition of ACON.

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