Monday, 21 January 2013
Chipolopolo Draw Opener, Pullout Your Calculators
The African Cup of Nations did not begin on Saturday 19 January 2013, for me it actually began on Monday 21 January 2013. It was the day the defending champions, Chipolopolo would open their campaign to defend their title against the minnows Ethiopia. How ironic that we are beginning to consider other teams minnows, when 11 months we were in the same category. There was much anticipation leading to this match because even though we as fans were cautious, we expected the likes of Christopher Katongo, Rainford Kalaba, Stophilla Sunzu and Collins Mbesuma aka King David to bulldoze their way to three points. Well King David did actually bulldoze his way to a goal, but that is all we wrote.
This was supposed to be a game we should have finished, buried and sealed with titanium given the flurry of chances that we had. The entire nation was hoping for that, we left work in good time, endured the traffic and had our vuvuzelas in hand and what do Chipolopolo go and do, put up that display. Yes, I am disappointed and it is actually hurting. I think it is about time we started writing the obituary for this Chipolopolo at this AFCON. I know many people will call be a doomsayer, a pessimist, a ball of negative energy. Go ahead, I don’t care. Anyone who takes my heart on rollercoaster ride like that, and leaves me feeling as if the world just ended deserves every inch of my frustrated mind.
First of how did we just draw that game? We drew but it very much feels like a loss. First Mr. Reliable, Kennedy Mweene saves a penalty, Ethiopia has a man sent off, Mbesuma scores before the stroke of half-time. The football gods were definitely doing us some favours, but what did we do with that? We drew. Clearly the spark of 2012 was gone it was not there in whatever shape or fashion. It was more of individualistic performances and selfishness than team spirit that was paraded before us. I am sure a number of them want to shine in their own glory so that the European clubs can come knocking on their door. I am no football analyst so I will not care to state whether Herve Renard’s tactics were miscalculated or the substitutions were wrong. It is not my concern at the moment. When I sit in front of a television to watch my beloved Chipolopolo, all I want is a win. I do not care how we get it red cards, penalties, hand balls, just give me a win.
Let me also take this opportunity to talk about that jersey the boys were wearing. It is ugly. No more needs to be said than that. It is a far cry from the exquisite green and side-striped jersey that we won the trophy in. I do not know who is responsible for designing that tragedy of a piece of clothing. Someone in the design department of Nike should be fired. The jersey looks like something made in a high school tailoring class. I will stick to the green and side-striped jersey until Nike and FAZ get their act together.
While I was spitting venom into this piece Nigeria and Burkina Faso were playing. When Nigeria scored the first goal in the 22nd minute my heart died a little. I was already seeing our tombstone. Then the football gods did us one last favour, Burkina Faso equalised in the last minute of extra time. The Chipolopolo boys have been given another chance to redeem themselves and let’s pray they take it with both hands. So for now the calculators can stay where they are, we might have to make use of them later in the final game if Chipolopolo do not play like champions.