Sunday, June 4, 2023

A look back at Zambia’s victory at the CAN 2012

In 2012, Zambia’s national football team emerged victorious at the African Cup of Nations, held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. This triumph was particularly significant given the team’s tragic history: in 1993, a plane carrying the previous Zambian national team crashed off the coast of Gabon, killing all 30 people on board, including 18 players. The victory in 2012 which was also available on
,   thus served as a symbol of hope and resilience for both the Zambian people and the broader African continent.


Zambia’s journey to the final of the tournament was not an easy one. In the group stage, they faced off against Senegal, Libya, and Equatorial Guinea. The team started off with a 2-1 victory against Senegal, with goals from Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba. However, their second game against Libya ended in  draw. Going into their final group match against Equatorial Guinea, Zambia knew that a win would secure their spot in the quarterfinals. Despite playing in front of a hostile home crowd, the Zambians managed to come away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from Katongo.

In the quarterfinals, Zambia faced Sudan, who had finished second in their group. Once again, Zambia managed to secure a 3-0 victory, with goals from Stoppila Sunzu, Mayuka, and Christopher Katongo. The team’s solid defense, led by captain and goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, had yet to concede a 3 goal in the tournament.

In the semifinals, Zambia faced Ghana, who had been one of the tournament favorites. The match was a tense affair, with both teams creating numerous scoring opportunities. It was in the 78th minute that Zambia finally managed to score, with a header from Mayuka. The team held on for the remaining minutes of the match, securing their place in the final.

The final was held on February 12, 2012, at the Stade d’Angondjé in Libreville, Gabon. Zambia faced off against the Ivory Coast, who were widely considered to be the strongest team in the tournament. The Ivorians boasted a star-studded lineup, including the likes of Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, and Salomon Kalou. However, Zambia refused to be intimidated by their opponents’ reputation.

The match started off in a cagey fashion, with neither team willing to take too many risks. However, in the 70th minute, Ivory Coast were awarded a penalty after Emmanuel Eboue was brought down in the box. Drogba stepped up to take the spot kick, but his effort was saved by Mweene, who dived to his right to parry the ball away. The Ivorian fans were left stunned, while the Zambians celebrated their goalkeeper’s heroics. The match remained scoreless until the to the extension

The extra period was a tense affair, with both teams creating opportunities to score. However, neither team was able to convert their chances, and the match went into a penalty shootout. The Ivorians, who had been tipped as the favorites before the tournament, missed two of their 9 penalties, while Zambia scored 8 of theirs. It was Sunzu who scored the winning penalty for Zambia, sending the team and their fans into delirium.

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