Monday, February 13, 2012

Zambia crown Africa champion

2012 Africa Cup of Nations

Zamiba beat Ivory Coast in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Final
Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast missed a penalty
Zambia 0-0 I Coast 
Feb 12 2012 | Libreville

Zambia are champions of Africa!

After an epic shoot-out, the Chipolopolo defeated Cote d'Ivoire 8-7 on penalties in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Final.
The match was 0-0 after 120 minutes.

Chipolopolo honoured the memory of their fallen 1993 team by clinching their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title.

Zambia emerged as winners at the Angondje stadium in Libreville by proving to be cooler customers than Cote d’Ivoire during the penalty kick session.

Cote d’Ivoire kicked off the final but Zambia were the first to threaten through a close range Nathan Sinkala strike that drew an excellent reaction save from Boubacar Barry.

The chance set the tone for what followed, clearly indicating that that the Zambians were hardly overawed by the occasion and prepared to cause problems for their star-studded opponents.

Just as they have been at the entire tournament, the southern Africans were revelling in their underdogs tag. Not even an early game-ending injury to Joseph Musonda could dampen Zambian enthusiasm, though it did force Herve Renard to use his first substitution just 10 minutes into the game by inserting Nyambe Mulenga to deputise at left-back.

13 minutes later, Rainford Kalaba came close to scoring the opener with a powerful free kick from distance. The ensuing Chipolopolo corner was converted into an inconclusive Elephants counter attack that was led by Gervinho, hinting at a possible Ivorian awakening.

Francois Zahoui’s men showed some glimmers of their quality on 30 minutes, their best chance coming when Didier Drogba’s clever backheel pass found an unmarked Yaya Toure who missed despite being well placed to score. Even so, the Zambians closed out the half looking the more composed side after having unsettled the title favourites.

Zambia’s superiority continued in the second period despite it initially seeming that that Francois Zahoui’s halftime chat had had the desired effect on the Ivorians. Their vigour quickly faded though and the tempo dropped, with Renard’s men creating a few chances through Christopher Katongo.

Despite their mediocrity up to that point, the Elephants were gifted a chance to take the lead in the 69th when Gervinho was taken down on the edge of the penalty area by Isaac Chansa.

Drogba stepped up to shoot the generous spot kick but missed his second penalty of the tournament, blasting his effort over high over Kennedy Mweene’s crossbar.

The dramatic sequence injected some much-needed urgency into the match for both sides but clear-cut scoring opportunities were still lacking. In the 87th minute substitute Max Gradel dragged an effort wide after twisting past his marker.

Zambia nearly punished their opponents for their wastefulness but Kolo Toure recovered well to intercept a Chansa chip headed towards the pacey Emmanuel Mayuka for regular time to end goalless.

At the start of extra time, Zambia picked up where they left off as Christopher Katongo first time shot forced an outstanding save from the ever-alert Barry. Cote d’Ivoire dominated possession but continued to have no effective response for the Chipolopolo.

With the dreaded penalty kicks approaching, the Ivorians pushed hard for a winner but failed to make their pressure count while Zambia were content to defend deep and make brief forays forward. No winner was found and a marathon penalty kick session followed in which Kolo Toure missed first and looked to have eliminated his team.

Rainford Kalaba handed the Elephants an improbable lifeline that Gervinho wasted. Stophira Sunzu stepped forward and proved much less merciful that his prior teammate, burying his shot confidently to offer his country their first continental title and washing away the final failures of 1974 and 1994.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Zambia reached the African Cup of Nations final for the first time since 1994, upsetting Ghana 1-0 Wednesday night to advance to the championship against tournament favorite Ivory Coast.

Emmanuel Mayuka scored in the 78th minute for Zambia, tied for 71st in the FIFA rankings.

Later at Libreville, Gabon, Ivory Coast defeated Mali 1-0 on a 45th-minute goal by Arsenal forward Gervinho.

Sunday's final will be at Libreville, the site of Zambia's worst sporting disaster in 1993. A plane carrying Zambia's national team to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal crashed just minutes after taking off, killing 25 players and officials.

"There's something written that we have to go to play to honor the memories of the Zambia national team that died in 1993," said Frenchman Herve Renard, Zambia's coach. "It was catastrophic for the nation. The 12 million people of Zambia are waiting for us to go back to Libreville. Immediately (after) we arrive, we will go to the place. We just have to think of them and play for them and play for Zambia because it's a fantastic country."

Ghana, which beat the United States en route to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, could have gone ahead in the eighth minute, but Asamoah Gyan's penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene. In the World Cup quarterfinals against Uruguay two years ago, Gyan's penalty kick in overtime went off the crossbar, and the Black Stars were eliminated in a shootout.

Mayuka entered for the Copper Bullets at the start of the second half. No. 26 Ghana finished a man short after Derek Boateng was ejected in the 84th.

"This is the greatest moment ever a player can have to play in the final," Zambia captain Christopher Katongo said. "We go to the final without any pressure. We have to take this cup. This is an opportunity. It doesn't come every day."

At Libreville, 18th-ranked Ivory Coast went ahead when Gervinho capitalized on a defensive error to race half the length of the field and shoot past goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite.

Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure both hit posts as Ivory Coast dominated No. 69 Mali to reach the final without conceding a goal at the tournament. Les Elephants are seeking their first title since 1992

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

25 Home Eagles Hit Camp For Liberia

Super Eagles camp at Bolton White Apartment in Zone 7, Abuja came alive on Monday afternoon with at least 21 players in camp as at 5pm.

 All the other nine players were expected before the close of the day, team coordinator, Emmanuel Atta revealed.

Those already in camp as a press time included Chigozie Agbim, who currently skippers the team, and his other two colleagues between the posts, Okemute Odah and Dan Akpeyi.

Coach Stephen Keshi who spoke through one of his assistants Ike Shorunmu revealed that training was not held on Monday evening because most of the players who came on the morning of the day were fagged  out due to transport hassles and needed to rest for proper training to commence on Tuesday morning at the National Stadium in Abuja.

Keshi is expected to lead the usually rigorous training, as the team prepares for the friendly against Liberia in eight days’ time and the all-important Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali on February 29.

Below is the list of players in camp as at press time: Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwueke, Sunday Mba, Anubi Kolawole, Ejike Ozoenyi, Bathlomew Ibenegbu, Okemute Odah, Juwon Oshaniwa, Ossai Uche, Gbenga arokoyo, Oboabona Godfrey, Uche Oguchi, Kabir Umar, Kalu Uche, Henry Uche, Barnabas Imenger, Daniel Akpeyi, Kingsley Salami, Chidi Osuchukwu, Daniel Essien, Jude Aneke


Reigning African Women's Footballer of the Year, Perpetua Nkwocha, is looking forward to retaining her African title for the fifth consecutive time before hanging her boots.

 Nkwocha who was last week honoured with a merit award by the Majority Leader of the Imo State House of Assembly, Honourable Adaku Ngozi Ihuoma, who also doubles as Chairman House Committee on Women Affairs, Youth and Sports, for winning the CAF Footballer of the Year (Women) award for the fourth consecutive time, disclosed that winning the next edition remains her biggest ambition for now.

 "I feel happy and honoured to have won the CAF award for four times which no player has done before," she noted.

"It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected; so I see it as a big challenge. I want to see if I can make it five over five at the forthcoming AWC in 2012 before I call it quits. That is my target and I hope that by the grace of God, I will be able to accomplish it."

 Nkwocha had set a 15 goals target during the African Women's Championship in
South Africa in 2010.

 Though she could not hit her goals benchmark, her eventual 13 goals haul was enough to help the Super Falcons retrieve the AWC crown which they lost two years earlier in Equatorial Guinea


Victor Anichebe credited Louis Saha for helping him develop as a striker – after he scored Everton FC’s equaliser against Wigan.

The 23-year-old Nigerian international rescued a point for the Toffees with a bullet-header in the 84th minute of the 1-1 draw at the DW stadium on Saturday.

Anichebe, who was on as a late substitute, became the club’s top scorer with four goals, and believes he has benefited hugely from watching Saha in training.

The French striker left Everton FC on a deadline day switch to Spurs last week but Anichebe says he was sad to see him depart.

“I have learned a lot from him,” he said. “I always say to people Louis is probably one of the best players I’ve seen. Him and Steven (Pienaar) have been up there for me at Everton.

“But Louis’ control, pace, the way he uses the ball and even the way he thinks, he just brushes things off, and he’s a great professional. It’s sad to see him go, he’s helped me a lot since I’ve been in and around the teams, even when I was injured.

“I’ll still stay in touch with him, and hopefully he’ll do well at Spurs. They’re a great team as well and they might suit him a bit. At least we’ve got Niki (Jelavic) now.”

Pienaar went straight back into the team that secured a point against Roberto Martinez relegation battlers, and Anichebe was pleased to see the South African return.

He said: “I’m so happy to have him back, he’s really close to me. He makes the team play so much better.

“He’s always available for the ball, I don’t even think he gave it away at all. He’s a big player for us.”

The arrival of new striker Nikica Jelavic and the improvement of Denis Stracqualursi has increased the competition for attacking places at Everton, but Anichebe is relishing the task.

He said: “I’m not looking to fight anyone or whatever. Competition is great for the team. I think we needed another striker, especially with Louis going out and Nikica has a great record in Scotland.

“I’ve spoken to him a bit and he’s a great lad. Denis was unbelievable against City, and Tolis is fighting as well.

“If you go into every game knowing you’ll play it can be like going through the motions. But if you need to fight, you have to take a chance so it can only be good.”

Although he was super sub again on Saturday, after previously scoring to secure draws at Wigan and Villa and a win at West  Brom, Anichebe would like to figure from the start more often.

“I tried to rubbish that super-sub tag from the Europa League a few years back but it seems to be following me round. I couldn’t tell if it was my first touch but it was a valuable touch,” he said.

“Hopefully I can start a few more games soon. The manager keeps putting me in and then taking me out and just trying to help me really. Obviously I have had the injuries and I hadn’t trained for a few days before Wigan so it is important to be careful.”

He added: “It was a tough game. It was a really bad pitch and I think it was always going to be tough after Tuesday night.

“The lads put a lot of effort into beating City and Wigan are fighting for their lives and play some good football. We would have liked to have won, but given that we didn’t it was important that we didn’t lose.

“Hopefully we can pick ourselves up and do well against Chelsea.”


Erstwhile Eagles Boss Wishes He Could Have Done Things Differently

Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has said that if he has another shot at being coach of the national team, he will do things differently.

The former Super Eagles trainer, who was sacked after failing to qualify the country for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, also said that things must change concerning the administration of football in the country.

“There is nowhere in the world where a coach has to discuss his team list with the technical committee for approval for any match,” Siasia said at the MTN Hub, a round-table discussion on Sunday.

The ex-international said that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is part of the obstacle that does not allow the team and the coach to thrive.

After a tenure that saw him clash with key players in the squad, Siasia tried to explain the reasons why he left out goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and striker Peter Odemwingie from the national team at various times.

“I did not have any personal issues with Vincent, only in the manner of his approach to solving a challenge.”

Siasia has been appointed as the new coach of Indian Premier League side Durgapur, which also has Austin Okocha as a player.