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African Health Cup Tournament

ZANE Football Club (ZANE FC) recently represented Zambia at the just ended African Health Cup Tournament, held on Sunday, June 13th 2010 at the Cawley Stadium, in Lowell, Massachusetts.  This tournament was sponsored by Multicultural AIDS Coalition- Africans For Improved Access Program (MAC-AFIA), and involved six African nations battling it out for the top prize; Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda and Zambia!

The main purpose of the African Health Cup Tournament was to promote and create HIV Awareness. All teams were required to participate in a 15 minutes HIV prevention education discussion-session prior to their first game.

The tournament consisted of 3 rounds of matches: elimination, semi-finals and the final.

Zambia (ZANE FC) was grouped with Cameroon and Uganda in the round of elimination.  ZANE FC’s Team Manager Sekani decided on a starting lineup and bench that had Alex Harrison in between the goal posts, Alamin, Caesar, Elton, Gary, Habib, John, Mambo, Michael, Moses, Mully, Patrick, Paul, and Shayne.

Zambia vs Uganda: Elimination Round

In the first game, Zambia played convincingly well against Uganda, and won the match 2-1, with Habib scoring both goals for mother Zambia. Michael and Habib controlled ball possession marvelously for their team. Zambian supporters showed their approval by blowing a vuvuzela and waving the Zambian flag in jubilation.

Zambia vs Ghana: Semi-final Round

With Zambia successfully past the elimination stage, their next opponents were Ghana, favorites of the tournament. Ghana had just beaten Kenya 5-1, and seemed on a roll to squash their competition. Little did they know that they would hit a brick wall with resilient Zambia, eager to cause damage. It was a closely contested match resulting in a draw (1-1). This culminated into a dramatic penalty shootout with Zambia missing a penalty kick. However, this didn’t dent Zambia’s morale and all hope was not lost, because Goal Keeper Alex Harrison made some excellent saves, resulting in the mighty Zambian side qualifying for the final round.

Zambia vs Liberia: The Final Game

Zambia and Liberia were the last two countries left standing in the tournament at the end of the day. The match started off well, with both sides enjoying equal ball possession. Liberia was the first to break in the half by scoring a goal. Zambia soon equalized when Mambo scored a beautiful goal with an assist from substitute John ‘Jondolo’. The second half seemed deadlocked as neither side was able to take their chances. The match looked set to be decided by another penalty shoot out. However, Liberia had other ideas; with two minutes left before the end of the match, Liberia scored the winning goal, much to the dismay of the Zambian supporters. Even though Liberia lifted the cup, the Zambian side came away with pride in their performance and their heads held high, for they played the whole tournament with their heart.

Presentation Ceremony

ZANE PresidentMr. Sekani Nkhatawasofficially recognized by MAC-AFIA and honored for his contributions towards the tournament, as well as his commitment to the African community, as a whole.The most valuable player (MVP) was the Liberian striker who scored both goals in the final, and he received a trophy for his skill and talent. Ghana earned a trophy as well for being the most disciplined team. Our very own ZANE FC who represented Zambia so passionately, were runners up and for their gallant effort were awarded bronze medals. 1st place winner Liberia, lifted the African Health Cup Tournament in triumph, and were the proud recipients of a $500.00 cash reward.

Kudos to all teams for their spirited efforts!

By Zangi

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