Monday 13 February 2012

Africa Cup of Nations ZAMBIA: The African Kings Deliver A Glorious Ressurection

They had me uhhhing and ahhhing, they had me going zum zum zum and boom boom boom, and in the end they delivered. Africa had all eyes on the game. Ivory Coast did play well too but there had to be only one winner and Zambia brought it home. My neighbours are from Zambia and let me put it this way...I thought the building was going to crack and come tumbling down,,,,you could have thought someone was being mutilated....the screams were out of this world...I mean!!!I could not scream lest, the baby wakes up,,,,but silencing them screams gave me a vicious headache which l confronted headfast with more torture of watching the penalties...Goodness..oh goodness....even morphine could not have helped....I could not stop jumping and jumping and jumping for joy....I only stopped when the baby woke was beautiful. Back to my neighbours....there was so much screaming...a couple of them literally came out of the house into the cutting February evening cold and screamed so hard,,,,someone called the police coz they thought something had this time...considering my headache...I laughed myself into an aneurysm. Police cars, lights, was a scene to be remembered. I mean, can you imagine explaining to the British police that it was just victorious African me....I still cannot stop laughing.....

I was gunning for them to win,,,,they have not won this competition before memory of 1993 when all the Zambian players enroute to their game were killed in a plane crash. This was one of the biggest tragedies in African history.. The story of Zambia’s Cup of Nations triumph is soul deep and heartening.

The plane crash that claimed most of the Copper Bullets squad in 1993 just steps away from the stadium where Zambia lifted the trophy 19 years later, when you consider everything the current Copper Bullets were up against in their pursuit not only of a first continental title, but also in their quest to do their fallen heroes a final honour, it is heartening.

The explained it hearlty when they said "None of this is to rub salt in Ivory Coast’s wound, or to deny their part in a final they lost after two-and-a-half hours spent on a knife’s edge. Had they won they would have put the finishing touches on their own story.

But the story we have—that Zambia gave us—is one brimming with emotion, and in victory that emotion was heartening. For me, a lasting memory of the final will be the way the Zambian players and coaching staff sang as the penalty shootout unfolded. Even as he walked up to that tortured, diveted spot 12 yards from goal to take what would prove to be the decisive penalty, Stophira Sunzu was singing—singing along with his team-mates.

What a conflicting expression during the tension and anxiety of a penalty shootout in a continental final: singing. For many of us who started the weekend with that early match between Manchester United and Liverpool, and who went through the range of emotions and frustrations the subsequent debates inspired, the joyful sounds of a song sung by players enjoying football for all the right reasons seemed apt, seemed healing.

What Zambia gives us as we move on from the Cup of Nations is the reminder that football stories don’t have to be controversial to capture the imagination, they don’t have to rile and insult and pit one group of fans against another. They don’t even have to include players we’ve ever heard of, or places we’re familiar with. They can be good stories because the narrative, in and of itself, is good.

This is football’s great gift to those who love it. And it was given to us by a group of players who don’t represent big clubs, who played to honour a memory, and who sung three-part harmony into victory."

Last night was so emotional for me....because I knew the history of the team, because they played with soul, honour, untamable spirit, love and unity. They played for the World, they played for Africa. They united us. They made me feel a zillion times proud to be African.

They way the trophy bearers came in,,,,,,So rich, so traditional, speaks more than words can honour the old and wise in society. The world needs to learn more from this and realise its not just conflict that comes from Africa, but rich culture, unity and love. Julius Nyere, Kwame Nkurumah, Patrice Lumumba would have been proud to see watch this game. In memory of Africa's heroes.

Here is their story (from my perspective in pictures) -


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