Zaire won the African Nations' Cup for the second time on Thursday, beating Zambia by two goals to nil, in a replayed final.
Zaire won the African Nations' Cup for the second time on Thursday, beating Zambia by two goals to nil, in a replayed final. Their first victory was in Ethiopia in 1968, and this year's win takes on a special significance with Zaire the sole African team in the World Cup finals due to take place this summer.
Playing in Cairo's Nasser Stadium, the two teams seem to reflect the exhaustion that comes at the end of a long and hard-fought championship. A two-goals-all draw on Tuesday led to the rematch, watched by an enthusiastic 15,000 crowd, including former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Mohammed Ali.
The man of the match was Zaire's Ndaye, scorer of both goals. His first goal came 30 minutes into the game, and he clinched the victory with the second after half time, only 16 minutes from the end.
Zambia was unlucky not to score on occasions, and had its attack blunted most of the time by Zaire's man-to-man marking and zone defences, reducing most of their raids into individual sorties.
Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Abdel Kader Hatem, presented the trophies at the end of the match, deputisting for President Anwar Sadat. Egypt, who has played host to the ninth African Nations' Cup Tournament, came third in the final placings of national teams. They had been one of the pre-tournament favourites.
SYNOPSIS: Zambia kick-off in the replay of the ninth African Nations'Cup final. The Thursday game was the result of a two-all-draw with Zaire on Tuesday. The two teams met in Cairo's Nasser Stadium before a crowd of some fifteen thousand, including two hundred Zambian supporters who had flown in on Thursday just for the game.
Early on their team put on some aggressive play.
Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Mohammed Ali, Egyptian Deputy Premier Abdel Hatem and Sir Stanley Rous, President of the International Football Federation were among Thursday's spectators. They saw Zaire build up its attack early in the game.
Although Zambia was able to penetrate the Zaire defences on occasions, their attacks were infrequent and blunted by Zaire's man-for-man marking and zone defences.
Zaire took the lead after thirty minutes of play. Number thirteen, Ndaye scored, putting his team ahead one-nil.
Both teams seemed to be suffering from the strains of a long tournament, and perhaps, having to replay the final. Neither side seemed to be displaying the skill they exhibited in earlier matches.
Zaire, the only African national team to qualify for the final rounds of the World Cup this summer, have been keen to show the rest of Africa their worth.
Half way through the game, the score Zaire one, Zambia nil, and a worrying time for the Zambian bench - they had already been beaten twice by Zaire in qualifying rounds for the World Cup. A free kick to Zaire gave them a chance to increase their lead - but a good save by the Zambian goalkeeper scotched that.
But only sixteen minutes from the end of play, a Zaire attack paid dividends Ndaye scored his second goal giving his country a virtually inpregnable lead. And two-nil was to be the final score.
The Zaire team took the African Cup for the second time. Zaire's team captain, Kidumu, received it from Dr. Hatem, who was deputising for President Anwar Sadat.
The Cairo newspaper, Al-Ahram, said that Zaire's victory was "certainly well deserved".