In a match attended by football legends Pele, Michel Platini amongst other and beamed to millions across the continent and the world, there was doubt that the Chipolopolo were the better side on the night.
Ivory Coast were always going to be on the back foot especially after Drogba failed to convert his team’s second half penalty and when the game headed to extra and then penalties, it was certain that this was going to be Zambia’s night.
I said it before and i will say it again, Zambia’s belief in themselves won them the trophy. They were the hungrier of the two sides. It is obvious that returning to the scene of that infamous 1993 air crash that killed their entire national side except for Kalusha Bwalya spurred them onto victory,however, despite the memory of that fateful day hanging heavy over them, Zambia won the hearts of many neutrals by their attacking play.
For Ivory Coast it was heart break as they watched the chance of winning their second title slip right through their fingers after penalty misses from Kolo Toure and Gervinho.
It is sad that Drogba who many believe will retire from international football after this tournament will never get the chance to lift the biggest prize in African football.
Along with goal keeper, Boubacar Barry, Zokora, and Kolo Toure, this was to be their last chance to bow out with style. That however, never happened. So the last players of Africa’s golden generation will now have to make way for a new breed of emerging stars.
Stars who if given the same opportunities could raise the bar far much higher than Drogba, Eto’o, Kanu, Aboutrika, Steven Appiah did. It will be interesting to see how this transition unfolds especially for the teams considered as the ‘giants’.
However, for now, congratulations are in order for the winners of the 28th edition of the AFCON Zambia.