Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


ZAMBIA’S CHANCE FOR A BIT OF CLOSURE

Zambia pulled off an early surprise at the 2012 African Cup of Nations, beating Senegal, 2-1, in Bata, Ecuatorial Guinea, in its Group “A” opener.

Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba scored in the first half and the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets, in the Bemba language) held on for the win over Senegal, which reached the World Cup quarterfinals in 2010.  [January 21]

Comment:  Ivory Coast is favored to win Africa’s biggest prize, followed by Ghana and the Senegalese; Zaire is considered by oddsmakers to be in the middle of the 16-nation pack.  Nevertheless, should it reach the final on February 12 in Libreville, capital of the event’s co-host, Gabon, Zaire will have come full circle regarding the most heartbreaking moment in his soccer-playing history.  From Chapter 11 (Tragedies) of Soccer Stories:  Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore and Amazing Feats:

          1993.  Zambia lost eighteen members of its national team when a military plane carrying the squad to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal crashed into the Atlantic near Libreville, Gabon.  All thirty people on board, including five team officials, perished.

          The Zambians carried on with a team of inexperienced replacements and went into their final qualifying match needing only a tie with Morocco–second in the group and two points behind Zambia–to advance to their first World Cup.  The Moroccans, however, won, 1-0, to edge Zambia by a single point and deny the 1994 World Cup of what would have been the tournament’s overwhelming sentimental favorite. 

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