Monday, 13 February 2012

Well done Zambia.

In football we often confuse destiny with statistics. We talk over how a team is destined to win because on paper they are the strongest team - they have the most players playing in Europe or it's been some many months, weeks, days and hours since they last won and frankly their people are getting restless and therefore it must be destiny for them to win because anything else would be unacceptable. This type of mis-analysis is often the basis of much of the England hype at World Cup moments and it's been adopted into African football. Ghana haven't won the African cup of nations in 30 years and all but one of our squad play outside of Ghana. Ivory Coast haven't won in 20 years. I believe in terms of squad location they mirror Ghana. Zambia couldn't be more different. All but one plays in Southern Africa, mainly in Zambia itself. They've never won before, they've not quite had the glory days (owing to the plane crash that so ruthlessly stole their glory days before they had begun) and they were never considered contenders in this tournament - even with half the giants excluded.

But Zambia showed Africa what the continent risked losing to a foreign-type analysis of success. Destiny is divine, it is not statistics. 19 is not a round number, numerologists will not have a field day with it. But on the same coast that fate took Zambia's glory days, 19 years later, fate gave it back. I don't think it was by chance (or even the luck of Asamoah Gyan) that Didier Drogba missed that penalty, I think Zambia needed the win much most than Cote d'Ivoire and God saw that. 

I beg anyone to explain to me otherwise. How it was that Ivory Coast and Ghana rated the top two on the continent could have such different results, Ghana just scraping fourth (although we could all see the poor performance from the opening match) and Ivory Coast reaching the final to go out in penalties? Neither of them finishing the tournament as statistics would dictate. Both losing to a team who before now was more a spectator than a participator. We Africans are superstitious people. I think if anything this year's Afcon confirms our beliefs. The prayer session by the Chipolopolo as celebration confirmed our beliefs. God chooses the time, not statistics.

Congratulations Zambia.

No comments:

Post a Comment