28 December 2012

Zambia: 2012, What a Year It Has Been!

NEXT week Monday, we bid farewell to you 2012 and what a great year you have been.

You brought us the Africa Cup of Nations on February 12 in Libreville,

Gabon when our Chipolopolo beat Ivory Coast 8-7 on post-match penalties.

It was such a great day and I remember how fans thronged the streets across the country to celebrate the historic victory on that Sunday night.

A feat that had continued to elude us for several years and 2012 will be talked about for many years to come.

Many a time, we came so near but yet too far but in 2012, history was made as Zambia's name was engraved on the winners' list.

We also needed another penalty shoot-out to book a place in South Africa and the Chipolopolo did us proud by beating Uganda 9-8 in Kampala for people to once again go wild on the streets.

Mohammed Essa followed the football team's footsteps by winning the Africa Motor Rally Championship and reminded the continent that he came from a country that was in the winning mood.

It was a year that saw Catherine Phiri become the World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) bantamweight champion after defeating Natalie

Forget and was followed by Edgar Kazembe who won the Zambia Tennis Open after dominating the regional tournament.

Our cricket team managed to win the 2012 Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa World Cricket League T20 Division C tournament to advance to the B Division but just fell short of a place in the A Division and the list might go on and on and I hope those that I might have left out will bear with me-but well done all the same.

The crescendo of 2012 was the staging of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games in Lusaka.

Zambia managed to stage an international event for the first time by putting up a new swimming pool at OYDC, tennis and netball courts at NASDEC, while renovation works were done inside the boxing hall and squash halls.

We successfully hosted the regional teams that came for the December 4 to 17 competition and our athletes did not disappoint that much as we managed to win 41 medals behind South Africa and Namibia.

But what does 2013 have in store for our sports disciplines?

The question will need answers as soon as January 19 when the Chipolopolo defence of the AFCON title kicks off in South Africa.

It is every fan's expectation to have the cup back in Zambia but that would entirely depend on how our players will approach the competition, realising also that every team is out there to beat the champions and claim the title.

Adequate preparations would be the key for the athletes to excel next year and bring more honours to the country.

The issue of infrastructure for now should not arise as already some Zone Six structures are becoming white elephants.

Wishing you all a productive 2013 and happy sporting year.

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