On this day 12 February 2001 (Exactly 19 years ago today) Accra Hearts of Oak were named 8th best club in the World in the CNN/World Soccer weekly chart.
The three top teams all failed to win the previous week, clearing the way for Italian Serie A leader AS Roma to take over the lead in the CNN/World Soccer Top 10 clubs in the world.
Joining the list in eighth was Ghana’s Hearts of Oak, which beat Egypt’s Zamalek 2-0 in the African Super Cup final on Sunday.
CNN/World Soccer Top 10
Rankings for Feb. 12-18
Rk. Team Country Pts.
1 (4) AS Roma Italy 90
2 (2) Boca Juniors Argentina 89
3 (1) Real Madrid Spain 83
4 (3) Man Utd England 81
5 (7) Bayern Munich Germany 60
6 (8) Deportivo Spain 53
7 (6) Vasco da Gama Brazil 48
8 (-) Hearts of Oak Ghana 26
9 (10) Arsenal England 25
10 (9) Lazio Italy 22
The previous week’s rankings in parentheses.
Dropped out: Barcelona.
Others receiving votes: Juventus (Italy), Schalke (Germany), Fenerbahce (Turkey), Galatasaray (Turkey), Anderlecht (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain) and Nantes (France).
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH
On this day 12 February 2012 (Exactly 8 years ago today) Zambia clinched their first African Nations Cup crown with a poignant penalty shoot-out win over Ivory Coast.
Nineteen years after a plane crash which killed 18 members of their squad in Libreville, the Chipolopolo returned to the Gabon capital to record the most famous victory in the country’s history
After 14 kicks were converted, Kolo Toure and Gervinho failed to find the target for the Elephants as Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba also blazed over.
But Stoppila Sunzu found the top corner to complete an amazing 8-7 victory.
It was a heartbreaking end for Ivorian skipper Didier Drogba, who missed a spot-kick in normal time.
For the Chipolopolo, who had already been runners-up twice, it concluded a tournament where they were inspired by the loss of the 1993 Zambian team after a plane crash close to the venue of the final in Libreville.
The last time the southern African country reached the final in 1994, it was just a year after 18 Zambian team members died as they took off from the Gabonese capital.
En route to the final, the current team had spoken of the strength they had gained in remembering that tragedy.
And in winning the shoot-out, they showed a steely determination to beat their supposedly more illustrious opponents with a performance that was built on an indefatigable spirit.
Having more than matched the Ivorian team throughout the 120 minutes of play, they showed greater composure when the contest came down to the crunch.
Drogba’s penalty miss after the hour mark was startling, as he smashed the ball way over the bar after Gervinho was pushed over.
But Zambia were also unlucky as Boubacar Barry made two crucial saves at opposite ends of the match, first stopping Nathan Sinkala’s shot from a well-worked corner and then poking Chris Katongo’s shot onto the post in extra-time.
Between those chances, Yaya Toure shot off-target from 10 yards and, although Francois Zahoui’s team showed some impetus at times, they rarely tested the impressive Zambia keeper Kennedy Mweene, who also scored in the mammoth shoot-out.
With Zambia conceding just three goals en route to the final and Ivory Coast none, the game was never likely to be an open contest.
And as the game progressed, the belief in the Ivorian team seemed to shrink.
Buoyed by their vocal coach Herve Renard, Zambia always posed a threat from their well-worked set-pieces and it certainly appeared that fate was on their side when Chelsea forward Drogba missed from the spot.
Spurned on by that miss, substitute Max Gradel injected some urgency into Zahoui’s side as they pushed for a winner and the former Leeds forward was inches from scoring after Wilfried Bony’s knock down.
Although Didier Ya Konan and Kalaba both went close for either side in extra-time, they could not prevent the game being decided by the engrossing shoot-out.
Drogba made amends for his earlier miss by scoring his team’s fifth kick, after Souleymane Bamba was fortunate to earn a second chance having missed his first effort.
Mweene was penalised for encroachment on that occasion, but he was the coolest man on the pitch as he took it to sudden death.
That left Sunzu to make the most of misses by Kolo Toure and Gervinho, sparking wild celebrations for a triumph which almost seemed scripted.
Ivory Coast Zambia
Tiote scores 1-1 C Katongo scores
Bony scores 2-2 Mayuka scores
Bamba scores re-take 3-3 Chansa scores
Gradel scores 4-4 F Katonga scores
Drogba scores 5-5 Mweene scores
Tiene scores 6-6 Sinkala scores
Ya Konan scores 7-7 Lungu scores
K Toure saved 7-7 Kalaba blazes over
Gervinho fires over 7-8 Sunzu scores
The last time the southern African country
Zambia Line-up: Kennedy Nweene, Davies Nkausu, Stoppila Sunzu, Hijani Himondi, Joseph Musonda (Nyambe Mulenga-12/Felix Katongo-74), Chisamba Lungu, Isaac Chansa, Nathan Sinkala, Ransford Kalaba, Christopher Katongo (C), Emmanuel Mayuka.
Coach: Herve Renard
Ivory Coast Line-up: Boubacar Barry, Jean Jacques Gosso, Kolo You’re, Sol Bamba, Siaka Tiene, Didier Zokora (Didier Ya Konan-74), Yaya You’re (Wilfreid Bony-87), Cheick Tiote, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou (Max Gradel-63), Didier Drogba (C)
Coach: Francois Zahoui
Referee: Badara Diatta (Senegal)
Bechir Hassani (Tunisia)
Evarist Menkouande (Cameroon)
Eddy Maillet (Seychelles)
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH
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