Monday, February 13, 2012
Sports Desk- Zambia is Feeling the Joy of Victory
In what may well be one of the greatest sports stories in recent years, the southern African nation of Zambia won soccer's African Cup of Nations with a 0-0 (8-7) victory over heavily favored Ivory Coast in Libreville, Gabon, yesterday.
The Gabonese capital was the site of a great soccer tragedy for Zambia some 20 years ago in 1993 when a military plane carrying 30 people, including 18 Zambian soccer players for the national team, crashed killing everyone on the plane.
But, yesterday, Stopira Sunzu, 22, killed the game-winning penalty kick to prople Zambia to vicotry. Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, 27, (pictured) was the other hero of the game for Zambia as he stopped a penalty kick from Ivory Coast superstar Didier Drogba (who also plays for Chelsea) during the penalty shoot-out phase of the game.
To put into terms of how incredible Zambia's road to victory, which also included a 1-0 victory over Cup favorite Ghana in the semi-finals, it essentially would be something akin to an Ivy League school winning the Final Four here in America.
Ivory Coast has many soccer icons, including English Premiere League players in Droba, Gervinho (Arsenal) and Yaya Toure (Manchester City).
During regulation time, Drogba also missed a penalty kick in the 70th minute of play and a header in extra-time. Toure also missed a key goal-scoring opportunity in the 30th minute of play.
For Zambia, Emmanuel Mayuka, who scored the game-winning goal over Ghana, missed a key chance to win the game in regulation.
The BBC reported this morning, that people were puring onto the streets of Lusaka, Zambia's capital and celebrating well into the night.