For 72 minutes it looked as if Zambia were going to add yet another shock result to what the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola had already provided.
Leading 1-0 against a star-studded Cameroon side with 18 minute left, you couldn’t see where the four-time winners were getting the goal until Chipolopolo ‘keeper Kennedy Mweene gifted them the softest goal you would ever see in an international game.
The South African based ‘keeper had not put a foot wrong until that fateful moment when he failed to hold on what looked a harmless low cross cum shot by Geremi from the right wing.
The veteran Newcastle United midfielder didn’t even bother to celebrate—as he couldn’t believe that the ball had somehow found its way in the back of the net vie the ‘keeper!
Four minutes later and a team that looked beaten and probably out of the tournament were 2-1 up thanks to Samuel Eto’o’s first goal of the tournament.
Zambia are playing some of the best football in the tournament and they didn’t shrink for a moment against a more illustrious Cameroon, not even after going behind—they kept going and did push further a field, and to their credit, the pressure on their opponent’s aging defence marshalled by Rigobert Song paid off when ‘keeper Kameni gave away a penalty—he was lucky to get away with just a booking.
Yet a slight drop in concentration, probably caused by inexperience led to Cameroon’s third goal, though well taken by Mohammad Idrissou, it was an underserved one.
Zambia, particularly Mweene will feel hard-done conceding the first two goals, which were sloppy for me. A draw would have been the right result for either team because Zambia didn’t deserve to lose and neither did Cameroon deserve to win.
I thought Alexander Song, the youngest member in the team, had the best game for the Indomitable Lions but the final group game against Tunisia on Thursday will be the biggest test yet for Cameroon’s aspirations to dethrone Egypt as Africa’s kings.