Chipolopolo shine

Goalkeeper George Kolala was the hero for the Chipolopolo, saving the penalty kicks from Sudan’s Haytham Kamal and Mohamed Omar.

Noel Mwandila scored the winning penalty for the southern Africans.

Zambia, who were guests at the tournament, took the US$35,000 prize money but the trophy went to Sudan by virtue of being the best Cecafa team in the competition.

The Sudanese also took home US$20,000 for finishing second.

The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes but Zambia could have won the game in regulation time with a bit more luck in front of goal.

Mark Sinyankwe nearly put the Chipolopolo in the lead in the 8th minute but his free kick struck the crossbar.

Given Sinkuluma’s strike after 65 minutes was expertly saved by Sudan keeper Elmoiz Mahgoub.

Zambia coach Patrick Phiri says the CECAFA Almoudi Senior Challenge Cup has given the technical bench the base of which players to select in case professionals fail to pitch up for next year’s Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Phiri said the players showed their desire to represent the country at the highest level.

Phiri spoke highly of junior international defender Hichani Himoonde who he said was the best Zambian player at the two-week long tournament.

He said a number of scouts were left chasing for his signature.

The coach pointed out that he would continue exposing young talent in a quest to build a strong foundation. He also said he felt humbled to lead Zambia to grabbing two trophies in one year.

National Sports Council of Zambia chairman Julius Sakala said the Chipolopolo’s triumph evoked memories of 1987 when he was delegation leader when Zambia beat Malawi 3-0 in Kampala, Uganda, to lift the CECAFA trophy.

The Southern African team were not obsructed by the dirty tactics employed by the Ethiopia Football Federation and CECAFA to “rig” Zambia’s 1-0 win over the hosts.

Football Association of Zambia president Teddy Mulonga said the Chipolopolo had what it took to bring pride to the country.

“This win is unprecedented because outside the Africa Cup of Nations we are the only country that has won two regional cups in one year,” Mulonga said.

He said FAZ would always keep faith in the coaching staff led by Phiri and the players. ‘ Additional by Zambia Daily.

December 2006
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