Sizing up Chipolopolo and Elephants

2012-02-12 09:01

There won’t be any shocks in tonight’s 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations final.

This is the end for Zambia’s Chipolopolo when they face Ivory Coast, just as Julius Malema’s world came crashing last weekend.

They might be from my region, but patriotism and sentiments aside, Didier Drogba will be hoisting the trophy at the end of the match.

Coach Francois Zahoui will join the likes of Egypt’s Hassan Shehata and Clive Barker in a list of home-grown coaches who have lifted the trophy.

The Elephants, who have assumed an ubeaten run so far in the tournament, have trampled over all opposition with ease, and should continue to do so against Zambia.

They are not the best African team for nothing. Apart from the fact that they arrived as pre-tournament favourites, two key factors count in their favour.

The Ivorians have been arguably the best performing team of the 2012 edition, winning five matches and scoring nine goals.

Their goalkeeper Boubacar Barry still has to retrieve the ball from the back of his net.

Captain Drogba, Kolo Toure and Didier Zokora are not likely to be on the flight to South Africa in 2013 should the Elephants qualify due to age.

Thus the trio and other ageing players would want to exit with winners’ medals.

Zahou’s current side also boasts stars such as Caf Player of the Year Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, and these Europe-based players should be able to thwart Chipolopolo.

The Elephants’ ploy has been an easy one: pack the midfield with two defensive players in Zokora and Cheik Tiote and let Gervhino and Kalou run riot on the wings. They should be able to exploit Zambia’s weakness at the left back where right back Joseph Musonda has been deployed.

To his credit, the Golden Arrows defender Musonda has not put a foot wrong.

Ivory Coast have a match winner in Drogba and his power should be enough to tear the Zambian defence apart.

The Invorians know the stadium in Libreville better than Zambia who will be playing there for the first time.

How ironic that the Orange Africa Cup of Nations will be won by a team wearing orange.

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