Success is so delightful that when you are tagged to achieve it in a worthy task, you tend to feel so pleased and blissful even though you are yet to pay the bill (perform the task). Yeah, the deeds of yesterday and years are great in predicting the happenings of today and tomorrow's events. That's the beauty of life but hey it isn't that simple always. I dare say it is even much difficult to hold unto that cliché in today's occurrences in an individual's life not to attempt considering it on a global arena.
It all started when the roll call for the participating nations for the most admirable and splendid sport on the great continent of Africa was made. Names such as those of the Continent's giants like the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of my super hero Samuel Eto'o's Cameroun could not be heard. Hmmmm! The Continent's economic super power, South Africa, could not be spared. It became even ironical that the country that has won the prestigious tournament more than any other nation, won it back to back, confirmed the slogan 'host and win' not only that but the defending champions prior to the Orange AFCON, 2012 to be held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, the great Pharaohs of Egypt would not be at the tournament. “What a blow to the game”, were the words on the lips of many. Certainly, if the powerhouses of the Continent's football would not be at the tournament, then there is no need to spend precious moments watching the whole tournament, I guess were the initial thought of many including lovers and pundits of the game.
In this situation, the football pundits had it pretty easy to use their 'magic'. Hmmm! There they went! The tourney's pre-favourites are Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire. Sure, you cannot begrudge them for history, we mostly believe, is on the sides of these giants. A third potential winner was Senegal. Again, FIFA rankings for some time now would surely give another impetus to the credibility of the predictions of the pundits. In all these, I shared in their predictions. Yes, I did but I was always of the view that the opposite may happen based on the simple reason that the other thirteen nations most of which were tagged underdogs were the same ones which beat and in fact humiliated the super powers and cut off their journeys to the tourney. With this as the basis, it seems pretty easy for people to soften their stance on the issue of underdogs, but hey they did not. Hmmm! Time will tell.
Sooner than later, the fiesta kicked start on the 21st of January, 2012. Yeah, I remember what Ghana's key striker, Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) said at this time. He said the championship will produce some huge surprises. Not a seer so no one listened to him. So there we go when the first blast of the whistle went indicating the commencement of African's largest sports event.
It was a great and nice match to be watched but again the big names of the game on the Continent were not playing on that day, so less talk was made about the quality of play. Then followed the second match, the third and hey people were being drawn into the game as the tournament progresses. One sees snippets of information on all social networks and both local and global media networks about the game. Then it turned to be so captivating. Great soccer talents, of the Continent which has produced some of the best world known footballers, were at work again.
The surprises could not be held back but kept happening at each stage of the tournament. The first match of a co-favourite, Ghana, despite winning with a lone goal against a generally perceived underdog, was a tough game for them. Hey! Yeah Zambia scored Senegal and the Senegalese had nothing to show off after the group stages than to pack their bag and baggage and heard towards Dakar, their capital city. What a day that was! But wait a little, more to come. And they did!
Indeed, there were a plethora of surprises as predicted. Despite not doing too well to the satisfaction of most of their supporters, the Black Stars of Ghana managed to reach the semi final. Then, we were hoping to end the thirty years of trophy draught but our hope and joy were dashed when we played our best match at the tournament only to end up losing by a lone goal to the Chipolopolo boys of Zambia. That was a great performance by the pre-tournament's favourite but they seemed to have 'enjoyed' the game to the extent that they had forgotten how they dreaded the Zambians prior to the match. And yes, the Baby Jet missed another penalty kick which had the potential of seeing Ghana to the finals. Come and see! You remember he missed a penalty at the 2010 world cup that if scored would have seen Ghana at the semis? Insults upon insults were poured on him. This was attributed to his inability to return to Ghana with his teammates after they were kicked from the championship but had to be sent back to his club base courtesy a private jet sponsored by his club, Al-Ain of UAE. The woes of the Stars started from there and then only to lose third place to Mali who they beat in the group stage.
The greatest performance itself was shown about 24 hours after that – the grand finale. It was a match that Cote D'Ivoire was highly tipped to win having been a favourite for the trophy and attested to that by winning all their matches throughout the tournament, never conceding a goal at the tournament and with the galaxy of stars they have. Conversely, the tone of the game was set right from its beginning with Zambia showing that she would do everything possible to lift the trophy for the first time. Great skills and talents were displayed on the ball but none was able to score in both regular and extra time. Penalty shoot out which was kicked excellently with each side scoring their first seven kicks in a row. The Chipolopolo boys of Zambia, aka the Copper bullets, finally came out victorious.
Certainly, I cannot forget how the penalty missed by Didier Drogba, the captain of the Ivorian side and the Chelsea top striker, in the second half of the finals. Yes, he missed a glorious opportunity to lift the trophy as he captains the team. A friend of European descent who watched the match told me it has been one of the best final matches he has watched across the whole world ever. What a match! The tournament certainly had lived above expectation. It was one of a class. The less talked about side, the Copper bullets of Zambia were so exceptional throughout the fiesta especially in the final game. Again, the excellent leadership style of their captain, Christopher Katongo, coupled with their sense of team work not forgetting hard work delivered the highly covetous trophy into their hands.
Great achievements today are on the side of the so-called underdogs. The so-called big names and powers of the days and years before cannot claim to be the giants of today again. History is on the move. Your determination and dexterity in your current task should spur you on to make it great today. Success is on your side. Stay focus and hey! I promise you, you will make it. Just like the Zambians who at the commencement of the tournament were only hoping to perform well to the memory of their entire football team (except one, Kalusha Bwalya, who used a different flight) who died along the coast of Gabon on 28th April, 1993 on a national duty, you may not know to what extent you will get to but trust me do your best and you will get there!
Some friends of mine could not held back their shock about how top strikers like Drogba and Gyan missed penalty when it mattered most. This they cautioned football funs to be aware of “Drogyan” virus, the newly discovered football virus that is breaking hearts!
Remember, folk, your thought today can make the world better tomorrow. Think about it!
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