Revered Malawian soccer personalities and fans could not resist the temptation of taking pleasure in neighbouring ZambiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Cup opening match 2-1 upset over SenegalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Teranga Lions on Saturday in Equatorial Guinea.
The Flames are not part of the continentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest football showpiece having missed out at the very last minute when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Chad. However, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri and captain Peter Ã¢â‚¬ËœMjojoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Mponda have saluted Chipolopolo for their impressive triumph over the former World Cup quarter-finalists.
Kinnah said ChipolopoloÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win reminded him of the FlamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 3-0 victory over Algeria at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations when they basked in the global limelight as their romantic flirtation with the continental showpiece reached new heights.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations [and] it is painful to watch the event on TV, but our brothers Zambia provided solace by beating Senegal who were the favourites. I was very happy for them,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kinnah said.
He also said the win was not only for Zambia, but for the entire Cosafa bloc.
Mponda said the Flames can draw lessons from ChipolopoloÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win that self-belief also counts in this beautiful game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Very few gave the Zambians a chance. The odds were overwhelmingly tipped in SenegalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favour, but they [Zambia] defied all odds and displayed sheer determination to win the game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is unfortunate that we are not there. Hopefully, we can draw lessons from their win that with self-belief and willpower, it is possible. I watched the entire game on TV and I could not help, but admire Zambia,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mponda from Cape Town on Sunday.
The Flames skipper also said it is important that MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s players should not just enjoy the event on TV, but learn from it.
There were jubilant scenes at Pa Kamba drinking joint in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commercial city, Blantyre, as soccer fans feasted on ZambiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win. Stevie Mussa, who watched the game from Pa SequecyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pub, said ChipolopoloÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win provided Malawians with amusement.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With our team having failed to qualify, we could not help to revel in our brothersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ win,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mussa added: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just look at the atmosphere here, it is like the Flames winning and not Zambia. I will drink for Chipolopolo tonight.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Emmanuel Mayuka opened the scoring for Zambia after 12 minutes before Rainford Kalaba doubled the lead. SenegalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consolation goal was scored in the second-half by Copenhagen forward Guirane Ndaw.