Zambia overpowered star-studded Cote d’Ivoire 8-7 on penalties to clinch their first ever African Cup of Nations (Afcon) title on Sunday.
Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), as Zambia is affectionately known, proved that footballing success is achieved by good team spirit and tactical discipline rather than individual brilliance, beat Cote d’Ivoire, who not only were tournament favourites, but had also not conceded a single goal prior to the final.
Students from Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa could not hide their jubilation and paraded the streets of Braamfontein in song, proving that Zambia’s win was a Southern African victory.
spoke to Witsies from Zambia to get their perspective on the team’s overall performance in the continental showpiece and find out how they celebrated the victory.
Natasha Ngoma, a 3rd year BA student from Lusaka, said whilst she was still at home in January she watched all the Zambian games leading to the final at a local restaurant with many other fans.
“The final was my favourite match because the team really played their hearts out. Beating Ghana and Ivory Coast was really impressive for me, since prior to the tournament we had not been doing so well,” she said.
Ngoma watched the final in Braamfontein and said she was “most impressed by the player’s good spirit and commitment”.
Ngandwe Chibuye and Keshi Mubanga, also 3rd year BA students, shared in the excitement of Zambia’s Afcon victory.
“There was so much excitement and intense emotion which made me so proud to be Zambian,” said Chibuye. She was backed by Mubanga who said: “When the last penalty was converted, people started jumping around screaming and hugging. It was really an unbelievable moment”.
For 3rd year bachelor of economic science student, Chichi Muyoba, what makes Zambia’s Afcon triumph momentous is that they won it for the first time in their history.
“I am glad to be part of this generation which witnessed history in the making. I watched the game at Newscafe and it felt like I was in Zambia because the bartenders, security guards and everyone else was supporting us,” she said.
Back in Zambia thousands of people skipped work and marched to the airport on Monday to welcome the team back.
“I wish I could have been there so that I could tell my grandchildren about this moment,” said Ngoma.