Malawi coach says Zambia deserved to win Africa Cup

Malawi national football team coach, Kinnah Phiri, has declared that the Chipolopolo of Zambia truly deserved to win the 2012 African Cup of Nations, saying that the southern African Nation’s 8-7 penalty shootout victory over tournament’s huge favourites, Ivory Coast in the final did not come to him as a surprise.

“Malawi coach told Nyasa Times that Zambia’s consistent participation in the tournament has helped them to go all the way and claim the title.

“If we talk about Zambia, I think this was their time to win this tournament,” he said.

Kinnah: Zambia deserved to be new African soccer kings

“If you can look into the books and you would find that Zambia has participated into this competition a lot of times and this experience has helped them.

“This time around Zambia was very prepared; I think anybody had that anticipation on how far they would go, in a place where they had their team perished. From them I think they had already set that idea that they should win it whatever happens. Even before the finals I knew that Zambia would do well.”

When asked if he feels southern Africa can defend the title, Kinnah said that he is very optimistic that the Africa Cup trophy has come to stay, saying the balance of football power has now shifted to this part of the continent

“What people have to know is that in our region teams have improved a lot, a good example is of Zambia on how they have tremendously improved. You also have an example of Botswana, despite not having a successful tournament but it has improved. In our region we have teams who are capable to win the Afcon trophy and hopefully southern Africa will be able to defend it.”

Kinnah went on to add that Malawi national football team can also win the trophy, but he said that at the moment his priority is to build a strong Flames squad.

“Why not, yes we can win the African cup of nation’s title.  In football anything can happen. But at the moment we want to build a good squad so that we can qualify for the next tournament. If you can remember very well from our last experience in the AFCON  you would remember that we were very close to go through the quarter finals stage, so that gives us hope that when we will participate again we will go through beyond that. “

Zambia’s win is particularly poignant because 19 years ago Zambia lost its entire team in a plane crash in Gabon.

Rank outsiders to win this competition, the Zambian squad repeatedly cited the devastating air disaster that killed 18 of their national team off the coast of Gabon as an inspiration to do well – a mission statement that even their own fans struggled to believe at first.

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