[AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS]Almost 19 years after it national team perished in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon, Zambia returned to Libreville and won the Africa Cup of Nations, defeating Ivory Coast, 8-7, on penalty kicks after their match finished 0-0.
"There was a sign of destiny, a force within us. Maybe it was meant to be," Zambia coach Herve Renard said. "I can't explain it. Honestly, I can't explain it. Something was written in the stars. It was not me."
Star Didier Drogbamissed a penalty kick in the second half for the heavily favored Elephants, who finished the tournament without giving up a goal.
The miss was Drogba's second of the tournament and was followed by misses by Kolo Toure and Gervinho, two other EPL stars, in the 8th and 9th rounds of the shootout.
The pressure was entirely on Ivory Coast, and the Elephants got off to a poor start, allowing Nathan Sinkala to get off a close-range shot thatBoubacar Barry saved seconds into the game.
But little by little, Drogba and Company took the game to the no-name Zambians.
Ivory Coast's best chance came in the 70th minute when Gervinho was taken down in the area. But Drogba skied his shot high over the goal.
The best chance in the overtime periods went to Zambia when Felix Katongo found brother Christopher-- named the tournament's top player -- but Barry’s toe poked his shot off the near post.
Feb. 12 in Libreville
Ivory Coast 0 Zambia 0 (Zambia wins 8-7 on penalties.)
Ivory Coast --Barry, Tiene, K.Toure, Bamba, Gosso Gosso, Zokora (Ya Konan 75), Tiote, Y.Toure (Bony 87), Gervinho, Kalou (Gradel 63), Drogba.
Zambia --Mweene, Musonda (Mulenga 12; F.Katongo 74), Sunzu, Himoonde, Nkausu, Sinkala, Lungu, Chansa, C.Katongo, Kalaba, Mayuka.
Referee:Badara Diatta (Senegal).