The finalists for the 28th edition of the AFCON are now known after thrilling semi-final fixtures last night. The Ivory Coast will now face Zambia who made it to the final after causing one of the biggest upsets of the entire tournament by knocking out Ghana. The Black Stars however have no one to blame but themselves for their exist after failing to make a host of chances they had count including a missed penalty by Asamoah Gyan.
I have to admit, Zambia have impressed me this tournament and despite being an Ivory Coast fan, i will be rooting for the southern African nation to win their maiden title when the two sides face each other on Sunday. In fact, Sunday’s final in Gabon will mark a return of the Chipolopolo to a country where their entire national team perished tragically in a plane crash back in 1993.
The Zambians will definitely be the underdogs, however, having slain both Senegal and Ghana, Ivory Coast can only underestimate them at their own risk. It was heart break for both fans and players as their dream of lifting a fifth title was crashed.
Here is what Ghana assistant coach Kwesi Appiah had to say:
“We dominated possession throughout the game. It was unfortunate they scored from the two chances that came their way. Personally, I don’t think something went wrong with the team. We were unlucky.”
“Zambia is a big football nation. They have played well and we expected a tough game. We came here to get a win. I don’t think we deserved to lose.”
Threats are already emerging for head coach Goran Stevanovic with a member of the Black Stars Management Committee saying that the Serbian should not return to Ghana as he should consider himself relieved of his position.
Yaw Boateng-Gyan a member of the National Executive National Democratic Congress revealed in an interview with PeaceFm said that the Serb should considered himself fired. Here is what he had to say:
“I’m clearly disappointed…We had already booked our flight to go and witness the finals…His substitutions on the day (against Zambia) were totally bad, it did not help the team at all…If you substitute your dangerous players (Asamoah Gyan, Dede, etc) then obviously you become tame…We kept on warning him that if he fails to bring the (African) cup home to Ghana, he will be fired so for me he should consider himself sacked…He’s too stubborn…but in all honesty, if our selection had been perfectly done this could have been avoided,”
After watching Zambia play, i have no doubt that a Zambia-Ivory Coast final would be the perfect climax to an indifferent tournament. The question however, is, how will their fairy tale run end?