By Adeola Aderounmu
I remember in 1994 that Zambia played the Nations Cup Final against Nigeria. Nigeria won that final game thanks to the exploits of the likes of Emmanuel Amuneke and Sunday Oliseh. That year was the height of glory for Nigerian football at the senior level. Since then it has been a nose dive.
Zambians will take a new shot at glory. They have to overcome the elephants of Ivory Coast. It will not be an easy game. The likes of Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure are near the end of their international careers. This is probably their last chance to lift the most prestigious cup on the continent.
The two countries are seeking cup glory for the first time. When the tournament started book makers did not tip Zambia to be in the final. On paper therefore it will be easy to say that Ivory Coast will win on Sunday the 12th of February 2012.
But football is not won by bookmakers or by wishes. It has to be decided on the field of play, in 90 minutes.
A team appearing in the final has a 50% chance of winning the game. So Zambia has the same chance as the Ivorians. This is the beauty of football.
What is not beautiful with African football is the over-physical nature of the African footballers. They are too rough in many circumstances. They don’t play like that when they are back in Europe. In the Tunisia-Ghana match for example there should have been at least 4 red cards. But the referee was acting like a timid lamb.
In general the games are rough and untidy.
The games should not be rough or too physical because it is played on African soil.
It must also be pointed out that some players make the game ugly by their filming. Drogba was filming a lot in the game against Mali and the referee even became tired. The referee should have given Drogba a yellow card instead of waving play-on.
The attendances at the competition have been dismay. E-Guinea and Gabon have disappointed when it comes to the promotion of football. I don’t know why the turn outs have been poor especially after the host nations were bundled out but I do know that there are ways to ensure full capacity in competitions of this nature. CAF and FIFA should look into that for future competitions.
In any case kudos to the host nations and may the better side win come Sunday.
Good luck Zambia!