We’re champs

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:02:22 +0000

 

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA

 

resilience and team spirit saw Zambia emerge champions of the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, bagging both the title and the US$250,000 prize money.

Goals from Patson Daka and Edward Chilufya in the first half saw the Beston Chambeshi’s junior Chipolopolo humble a tough looking Senegal 2-0 to make history on home soil.

With President Edgar Lungu leading the 60,000 fans at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, the junior Chipolopolo displayed a striking performance.

Senegal started the game on a high note and came close to taking the lead in the eighth minute when Ibrahima Niane dribbled past the Zambian defence but his close range shot was saved by man-of-the match goalkkeper Mangani Banda.

But the Junior Chipolopolo upped their game after 10 minutes of play, exhibiting brilliant passes and tormenting the Young Teranga Lions’ clumsy defence.

In the 16th minute Zambia’s Emmanuel Banda beat defenders Mamadou Diarra and Souleymane Aw but his sublime pass was wasted after Patson Daka shot wide.

A minute later, Daka compensated for his wasted effort when he scored a rebound after Fashion Sakala’s shot was spilled over by Senegalese goalkeeper Lamine Sarr, sending the fans into a frenzy.In the 22nd minute, Senegal gave Zambia a scare when Aliou Badji caught the Zambian defence napping with only a goalkeeper to beat but sent the ball wide.

Senegal’s hope of winning the title was shattered in the 34th minute when the Senegalese goalkeeper parried over the ball to Chilufya whose strike made it 2-0 for Zambia.

There was  drama in the second half as a Senegalese player was spotted to have turned to the use of black magic to over-turn the 2-0 scoreline.

In the 50th minute, Niane was asked to remove a cotton like string which he was wearing on the wrist while nine minutes later, Mamadou Mbaye threw a strange object into the Zambian net which angered Mangani who requested for the referee’s intervention before Senegal took their free kick.

The Zambian fans began chanting“ Holy Ghost  fire”  while others threw bottles on the pitch to protest the Senegalese un-sportsmanship behaviour.

Senegal tried to get back into the game in the last 20 minutes of the game but their dependable goal-poachers   Niane and Krepin Diatta failed to convert clear-cut chances. Sakala and Mwepu also failed to give a third goal, having missed a couple of chances.

Immediately the final whistle was blown by referee Thierry Nkurunziza , the players celebrated while the fans danced and sang the Chipolopolo theme “ iyeeee Chipolopolo, iyeeee Chipolopolo”

The boys were handed the medals by CAF president Issa Hayatou while President Lungu gave captain Solomon Sakala the trophy. Patson Daka was crowned player of the tournament.n

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