Only one place to start this week in review, and that is in Libreville where Zambia defeated Cote d’Ivoire on kicks from the spot at the end of extra time. I remember reading about the Zambian air tragedy when their entire soccer team went down in the Atlantic after taking off from Libreville, and was it was interesting that Soccernet.com picked up on this before the tournament and interviewed Emmanuel Mayuka who became Zamibia’s talisman during the tournament. It is terrible that the tournament was not shown on American television, as the story lines in the tournament would have made for a great example of an African redemption story.
- So, I found myself rooting for Zambia on Sunday, despite telling anyone that would ask (and some that didn’t) that this was Cote d’Ivoire’s year to win the Africa Cup of Nations. In the end, the braver team won (but perhaps it was preordained?). If you looked into the eyes of the Ivorian penalty takers, they were scared to miss more than the Zambians. Now, Drogba’s missed penalty in normal time certainly didn’t help the confidence, but in the biggest game on the African continent, you have to be ready to psych yourself up to take a kick from the spot. Anyone could see that Gervinho kept looking to the ground, and made no eye contact with anyone during the kicks. Some might say that when it comes to the 9th taker, you can’t blame the guy because he was forthright in saying he didn’t want to take a kick. But when you’re a star player on the 15th ranked team in the world, you need to be ready to step up in the crucial moment for your country….
- Check out the video highlights of the kicks from the spot on youtube while Eurosport leaves them up! via Football is Coming Home
- Below is a breakdown by The Economist on the possible influence (or lack thereof) by European based African players.