VENTURES AFRICA – It’s the end of the 2012 and that time again when we take a closer look at the top sports highlights of the year. From Didier Drogba’s last kick which won the UEFA Champions League for Chelsea, Oscar Pistorius amazing run at the London 2012; to the unlikely Africa Cup of Nations win by un-fancied Zambia, Africa witnessed quite a number of sporting highlights. Ventures Africa takes a look at Africa’s top 10 sporting moments.
MO FARAH’s DOUBLE GOLD AT LONDON 2012
He may have nationalised in Britain, but Somalia born Mo Farah still has African blood running in his veins. Hence, the whole continent stood still as Farah stunned the world at the London 2012 Olympics winning the gold medals in the 5,000 and 10000 metres events. Even Mo himself was stunned after the 5,000m win as he told reporters “Two Olympic gold medals. Who would have thought that?” Well, not many did Farah, but Africa was indeed proud of your feat.
EGYPT AND CAMEROON FAIL TO REACH CONSECUTIVE AFCONS
While 2012 may have been a wonderful year for some football teams, it hasn’t been the best of times for the Pharaohs of Egypt as well as the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Egypt failed to defend their Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and also failed to qualify for next year’s competition which takes place in South Africa. Cameroon also suffered the same fate as their Egyptian counterparts as they didn’t qualify for the 2012 event and were knocked out by Cape Verde for the 2013 edition.
PISTORIUS MAKES HISTORY
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics. After battling for years with the International Association of Athletics Federations, Pistorius got his break in 2008 when the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled that he could participate with able-bodied athletes. Despite failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, the South African was not deterred. He made it to London 2012 and despite not getting to the final of the 400m event; Pistorius was heralded as one of the success stories of the 2012 Olympics. His astounding success story became a reference point for people world over.
KING RUDISHA SETS WORLD RECORD
Still staying with the London 2012 Olympics, Kenyan athlete David Rudisha continued his dominance of the 800m event at the tournament as he not only won the gold medal but also went ahead to set a new world record. Not only did Rudisha set a record, the race itself was dubbed the greatest 800m race ever as even the 8th place athlete, Team GB’s Andrew Osagie (who has Nigerian roots by the way) could have won gold in the last 3 Olympics. The achievements by Rudisha saw him voted as Kenya’s 2012 sportsman of the Year during at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards in his country which took place in early December.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA WOMEN WIN AWC
Africa got a new women’s champion also in 2012 when the Equatorial Guinea women national team the Nzalang Nacional (Nation’s Light) thrashed South Africa by 4:0 to dethrone Nigeria’s Super Falcons as Africa’s new champions. That feat saw their star player Genovova Anonma voted Africa’s best at the 2012 Glo-CAF awards.
UPS AND DOWNS FOR AFRICA AT 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS
The 2012 London Olympics produced mixed feelings for several African teams. Countries like South Africa and Ethiopia had a good showing with 3 gold medals each; Gabon and Uganda also finishing with one gold medal each, the likes of Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon; had a disappointing showing as they finished the competition without getting on the medals table.
YAYA TOURE: AFRICA’S BEST
The Ivory Coast and Manchester City maestro capped off a wonderful year with consecutive Glo-CAF award as Africa’s best player for 2012. The former Barcelona player was instrumental in helping his side Manchester City win the English Premier League on the final day of the season. Also, the 27 year old alongside compatriot Didier Drogba were the mainstay of the Ivorian team that narrowly lost the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations crown to Zambia.
AL-AHLY’s SEVENTH HEAVEN/PORT SAID DEATHS
Africa’s most successful club, Al-Ahly put up an outsounding performance to win a record 7th CAF Champions League. However, the year had started on a painful note for them. In February, Al Ahly supporters were targeted in a post-match riot at Port Said Stadium in February 2012 which resulted in the death of about 74 people. This caused a stoppage of the Egyptian league which till date is yet to resume. However, the Egyptian side put all this behind them as they pulled off an incredible 2:1 win over Esperance of Tunisia in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final after the first leg had ended in a 1:1 draw.
DROGBA’S LAST KICK FOR CHELSEA WINS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
After spending 8 successful years at Stamford Bridge, the Ivorian captain Didier Drogba ended his stint at the club in glory. His last kick of the ball for the Blues ensured Roman Abramovic’s side won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. That success story would not have been complete without Drogba’s input. His goal against Napoli in the second round of the competition got The Blues back into contention. He also scored against Barcelona in the first leg of the semi-finals. In the final against Bayern Munich, the home side were two minutes away from a famous victory until Drogba’s powerful header pulled Chelsea level. And after the game had ended in a 1:1 stalemate after extra time, Drogba’s final penalty sealed the win for Chelsea.
CHIPOLOPOLO END 19 YEAR ANGUISH
In 1993, a generation of Zambian footballers perished in a plane crash near Gabon. Fast forward 19 years, a new generation stunned the world with an amazing run in Africa’s biggest football showpiece, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations beating favourites Ivory Coast in the final 8:7 on penalties. Just before the final, Coach Harve Renard had said it will be his dream to win the Nations Cup in Libreville because a great part of Zambian football history. Well, The Chipolopolo did make that dream come true, a victory that is regarded as the biggest upset in the history of the competition.