In a scene reminiscent of U.S. women's gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi carrying Kerri Strug to collect her Olympic goal medal in 1996, Herve Renard, Zambia's 43-year-old French manager, carried injured defender Joseph Musonda to celebrate Zambia's historic first-ever African Cup of Nations title after beating the Ivory Coast in a penalty shootout. Musonda, who came off in just the 11th minute with the injury, was set down with his teammates by Renard, who then walked away to let the players celebrate their success.
The emotional scene capped off a storybook run for Zambia, ranked 71st in the world, as it played in tribute to the 30 people, including 18 members of the Zambian team, who died in a 1993 plane crash en route to a World Cup qualifying match. The star of that '93 team and lone surviving member (he was traveling from the Netherlands, where he played for PSV Eindhoven, and was not on the team plane), Kalusha Bwalya, was at the center of the celebration following Zambia's 8-7 penalty shootout win to resolve a scoreless 120 minutes of play.
While Zambia becomes just the second southern Africa side to win the tournament (South Africa being the first), the Ivory Coast must now live with the heartbreak of yet another squandered title. Didier Drogba blasted a penalty over the bar in the 70th minute and Gervinho, who scored the goal to put his side in the final, missed a crucial penalty of his own in the shootout.
Here's Drogba's miss...
After all Drogba (and his mother) has done for the Ivory Coast, this is just a crushing moment for him. But that doesn't change the fact that his contributions remain far greater than winning a continental football tournament.
- Joseph Musonda
- Herve Renard
- Bela Karolyi
- Didier Drogba