Zambia vs Ivory Coast
19:30 SS4, 9
LIBREVILLE - Zambia keeper Kennedy Mweene says he is not losing any sleep about sparring with Ivory Coast’s feared striker Didier Drogba in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Mweene is Zambia’s last line of defence against a Drogba-led Ivorian attack that has already scored nine times at the 2012 Cup in their five match unbeaten run to the final.
Yet Mweene, appearing at a press conference at the team hotel on Friday, hardly appeared to be shaking in his boots at coming up against the Chelsea giant.
“Drogba, no, I don’t feel any more pressure. The coach Herve Renard has helped us to keep cool, whether it’s a big or small game. “He’s done a lot with us mentally, I’m not shaking about Drogba, it’s just one of those games. There’s no panic.”
The 27-year-old was instrumental in Zambia’s 1-0 semi-final defeat of Ghana on Wednesday, guessing correctly to dive to his left to save Asamoah Gyan’s early penalty.
Zambia captain Christopher Katongo made the point that beating one of the competition favourites in their semi has helped his teammates discard any sense of stage fright against the star-studded Elephants.
“The young players learned something against Ghana, not to fear big names. It’s just 11 players against 11 out on the pitch, they’ve picked that up from the Black Stars victory.
Katongo said one of the keys to Zambia’s progress to the final had come from Egypt, the champions in 2006, when they beat the Ivorians in the title showdown in Cairo, 2008, and 2010.