On this day 14 March 1974 (Exactly 45 years ago) Zaire (DR Congo) won their second Africa Cup of Nations title after beating Zambia 2-0 in a replay of the final of the 9th edition of the biennial tournament.
The KK 11 battled in Egypt against neighbors Zaire in the final of the 1974 tournament that was played over two games after the two teams drew 2 – 2 in the first game only for the match to be replayed two days later on 14th March, 1974.
Egypt 1974 – Extra time replay
The final between Zambia and Zaire (Congo Democratic Republic) was the first that failed to produce a winner after normal and extra time.
A penalty shootout would have easily settled the tie on the 12th March 1974. But the lottery of the shootout was avoided and Caf decided that there will be a replay two days later.
Zambia along with Mauritius were newcomers to the Nations Cup, but the Zambian KK Eleven were certainly no pushovers at the time in the continent.
Zaire thought they had the first game all wrapped up after the competition’s top scorer Ndaye Mulamba made it 2-1 in the 117th minute only for Brighton Sinyangwe to equalise in the last minute of extra-time. In fact, Zambia had taken a first-half lead.
Two days later, however, the Leopards of Zaire triumphed 2-0 thanks again to striker Ndaye brace.
Ndaye Mulamba was top scorer with nine goals, which remains a record for the tournament. After this, the team returned to Zaire on the Presidential plane, lent to them by Mobutu Sese Seko.
Zaire Line-Up : Mwamba Robert, Makombo Robert, Bwanga Raymond, Boba Lobilo, Mwepe Ilunga, Kidumu Raoul, Mayanga Adelard, Mana Mabwene, Mavuba Mafuila, Ndaye Mulamba, Kakoko Emmanuel.
Coach : Blagoje Vidinic
Zambia Line-Up : Mwepe Emmanuel, Chama Dickson, Makwaza Dickson, Mbaso Edwin, Musenge Ackim, Chanda Bernard, Simulambo Jan, Simutowe Boniface, Kaushi Simon, Mapulanga Joseph, Sinyangwe Brighton.
Coach : Buselic Ante
Referee : Gamar Saad (Libya)
Later in the year, Zaire became the first Sub-Saharan African team to participate in a FIFA World Cup, qualifying for the 1974 tournament in place of the 1970 participant Morocco, whom they defeated in the decisive qualifier 3–0 in Kinshasa. Such was the desire to foster an identity of Zaire as a global player that Mobutu paid for advertising hoardings at the World Cup to display messages such as ‘Zaire-Peace’ and ‘Go to Zaire’.At the tournament itself, Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games, but gave credible performances against Scotland and Brazil. However, their 9–0 loss against Yugoslavia remains one of the worst World Cup defeats. A bizarre moment came in the match versus Brazil; facing a free-kick 25 yards out, defender Mwepu Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball upfield, for which he received a yellow card. This was voted the 17th greatest World Cup moment in a Channel 4 poll. Ilunga has stated that he was quite aware of the rules and was hoping to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against his country’s authorities, who were alleged to be depriving the players of their earnings. Many contemporary commentators instead held it to be an example of African football’s “naïvety and indiscipline”.
On this day 14 March 1976 (Exactly 43 years ago) Morocco won their first African Cup of Nations trophy by topping the final group.
The format of the competition was changed from 1974: the field of eight teams was still split into two groups of four, but a final stage was introduced with the top two finishers of each of the first stage groups. Morocco won its first championship, by topping the final group. Guinea finished second after 1-1 draw with Morocco on the final match day.
By George ‘Alan Green’ Mahamah