African Cup of Nations: Zambia find redemption in Libreville

Get Adobe Flash player

Zambia 0 Ivory Coast 0; after extra time; Zambia win 8-7 on penalties

Stade de l'Amitie

For two decades, Libreville has been a word Zambians associated with tragedy. That will never go away, of course, but last night, as they won a penalty shoot-out in the Gabonese capital to lift the Cup of Nations for the first time, it is a word that carries with it also a feeling of redemption. The tears flowed in the Stade de l'Amitie, tears of joy of 2012, and tears for the dead of 1993.

Rainford Kalaba missed once chance to win it in the shoot-out , but when Gervinho put his penalty over, Stopila Sunzu blasted his home to unleash an extraordinary tide of emotion. For Zambia this whole tournament has been about honouring the dead of 1993, when a plane carrying their team to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal exploded two minutes after take-off following a refuelling stop in Libreville.

They lay flowers at a memorial ceremony on Friday morning, and spoke openly about having 18 additional souls playing with them in the final. Kalusha Bwalya, Zambia's greatest player, who was only not on the fatal flight because he was based at PSV Eindhoven and making his own way to Dakar, is now the president of the federation, and can take credit for his country's rise, having responded to the failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup by insisting on a young squad that would be kept together for at least four years. The spirit and cohesiveness of this side are testament to his success.

For Didier Drogba and his golden generation of Ivorians, this was another crushing failure. Ivory Coast should have won in 2006, when Drogba, having been superb all tournament, wasted a sitter with 10 minutes of the final and then missed his penalty in the shoot-out as they lost to the hosts Egypt. They were favourites in 2008, when Egypt hammered them 4-1 in the semi-final, and again in 2010, when "three minutes of madness" as their coach Vahid Halilhodzic put it, saw them concede twice and lose 3-2. Drogba again had a crucial role, missing a second-half penalty that his conversion in the shoot-out couldn't redeem.

Zambia have mostly preferred to allow opponents on to them, but they took the initiative last night. As early as the second minute, Boubacar Barry made a superb save to hold a low Nathan Sinkala shot after a clever corner routine. Confidence burgeoning, Zambia brought out the tricks, which might have seemed a deliberate plan to rile Ivory Coast, akin to Mohammad Ali's right-hand leads in the Rumble in the Jungle, had it not been for the Zambia coach Herve Renard's furious reaction, thumping the full-back Davies Nkausa in the chest.

He must, though, generally have been delighted with his team, who pressed ferociously and moved the ball with the same pace and wit they have throughout the tournament. But the most delighted man was Kalusha, who emerged at the end to hug the players, victorious as he might have been before, had it not been for the tragedy of 19 years ago.

Zambia (4-4-2) Mweene; Nkausu, Sunzu, Himoonde, Musonda (Mulenga 12, F Katongo 75); Lungu, Sinkala, Chansa, Kalaba; C Katongo, Mayuka

Ivory Coast (4-3-3) Barry; Gosso, Bamba, K Touré, Tiene; Zokora (Ya Konan 75), Y Touré (Bony 87), Tiote; Gervinho, Drogba, Kalou (Gradel 63)

Referee D Badara (Senegal)

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little