Copper Bullets Reign Supreme: Hardly Given a Chance of Winning the Cup of Nations, Zambia's Fairytale Victory Is a Heartwarming Testimony to the Power of Fortitude and Team Work, with the Hand of Providence Undoubtedly Playing Its Part, as Kennedy Gondwe Reports from Lusaka

By Gondwer, Kennedy | New African, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Copper Bullets Reign Supreme: Hardly Given a Chance of Winning the Cup of Nations, Zambia's Fairytale Victory Is a Heartwarming Testimony to the Power of Fortitude and Team Work, with the Hand of Providence Undoubtedly Playing Its Part, as Kennedy Gondwe Reports from Lusaka


Gondwer, Kennedy, New African


Destiny's unswerving curve - as well as an indomitable fighting spirit - are, without question, the two ingredients that produced the elixir of success that saw Zambia lift the Cup of Nations for the very first time on 12 January at the Stade de L'Amitie in Libreville, Gabon.

That the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), experienced their greatest triumph in the same central African country that was the epicentre of a horrific plane crash, on 27 April 1993, which claimed the lives of 18 national team players and 12 officials en route to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier, has produced what is perhaps the most inspiring tale of triumph in the 55-year history of the tournament.

Matched against the star-studded and more experienced Cote d'Ivoire in the final, a team that had not conceded a single goal en route to the championship match, there was no question that the Southern Africans had a steep mountain to climb.

"It was a tall order [that Zambia would win the Nations Cup title]," admitted Dennis Liwewe, arguably Zambia's best-known football commentator.

But unintimidated by the presence of European club football stars like Didier Drogba, Kolo and Yaya Toure, the current African Player of the Year, in the West African side, Zambia, captained by Christopher Katongo, conjured a performance that confounded the Ivorians.

The West Africans had little self-confidence left after 120 minutes of play failed to produce a goal, with Didier Drogba, of all players, missing what would have been a match-winning penalty for the Elephants in the 70th minute.

As Francois Zahoui, the Cote d'Ivoire manager, admitted after their 8-7 loss on penalties, the pulsating final was one that he and his players never expected.

"It's difficult when you take part in a competition when you do not concede a goal and score nine ... We missed the penalty in normal time, then perhaps lost a bit of confidence. This is a big disappointment for us."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It was anything but that for the emotional French coach Herve Renard, who joined his players in a frenzied group dance, after Stoppila Sunzu calmly slotted home the winning kick that gave the Southern Africans the title that eluded them at the 1974 and 1994 finals. "I know we're not the best team [in Africa] but we have a strength and force that animated our team and made us African champions ... This is something enormous - something that appeared unrealisable before the competition began," Renard said.

Having led the Chipolopolo to the quarter-finals at the 2010 finals in Angola, where they could have beaten a lacklustre Nigeria, which had to draw upon every ounce of experience to earn a semi-final berth, Renard returned to coach Zambia late last year, after Dario Bonetti, an Italian, was surprisingly sacked despite earning the 2012 qualification ticket.

Renard's return to Zambia, after a short stint in Angola, was not without its critics. Many felt he had abandoned the country that had given him his first major coaching job, after working as Ghana's assistant coach at the 2008 Nations Cup finals, with previous stints with English side Cambridge United and French team AS Cherbourg.

But having the support of Kalusha Bwalya, the 1988 African Player of the Year, now the president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Renard returned to work and rejoined the players that he had grown to know well. Imbuing confidence into his players, they gathered mental strength, as they tried to convince a largely sceptical country, tired of underachievement, that they were the team to finally turn the tide of chequered outings and take the Zam-bian game to the African summit.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But, as even the 43-year-old Frenchman would admit, winning the 2012 Nations Cup tournament was never on the agenda, as he had set a modest quarterfinal target.

The Chipolopolo's opening Group A fixture against Senegal, one of the pre-tournament favourites, with a formidable array of strikers, like Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, was expected to be a particularly tricky fixture, with most pundits giving the game to the Lions of Teranga well before the kick-off. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Copper Bullets Reign Supreme: Hardly Given a Chance of Winning the Cup of Nations, Zambia's Fairytale Victory Is a Heartwarming Testimony to the Power of Fortitude and Team Work, with the Hand of Providence Undoubtedly Playing Its Part, as Kennedy Gondwe Reports from Lusaka
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.