The Elephants will start as warm favourites as they seek to banish once and for all the tag of “chokers” applied to Didier Drogba and company after disappointing campaigns in 2008 and 2010.
The Zambians, who have reached the final on a wave of emotion as they honoured their comrades who perished in the 1993 plane crash off the Libreville coast, have a tough task ahead of them.
Not only are they a yawning 63 rungs below their rivals in Fifa’s world rankings but Herve Renard’s men will also be trying to become the first team to score a goal against Ivory Coast since the start of battle three weeks ago.
Ivory Coast boasts an enviable record in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon. Not only has it won all its five matches but it has also avoided conceding a single goal, to nine scored.
Zambia, who were runners-up in 1994, have scored nine but conceded three, and won four of its games and drawn one. A compelling contest is in prospect as the Ivorians target a second title after their lone success 20 years ago, while the Copper Bullets are targeting their first. — Zambia daily mail