Third time lucky for Zambia

In February, Zambia won its first Africa Cup of Nations title, defeating Ivory Coast, three-time champions and tournament favourites, on penalties. Positioned only 16th in the continent and 71st in FIFA’s official world rankings, Zambia beat Equatorial Guinea and Senegal and drew with Libya to emerge top of its group. Victories over Sudan and Ghana in the quarter and semifinals earned Zambia a shot at the title. This was the country’s third appearance in the Africa Cup final – it lost to Zaire in 1974 and Nigeria in 1994. The 8-7 victory came 19 years after a plane crash in Gabon, following the 1993 tournament, which killed 18 players on the national team. The Zambian coach, Herve Renard, dedicated the win to the victims of that tragic accident.


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