Zambia vs. Ivory Coast
Zambia's Christopher Katongo celebrates with the trophy after wining their African Nations Cup final soccer match against Ivory Coast at the Stade De L'Amitie Stadium in Gabon's capital Libreville February 12, 2012. Reuters

History was made on Monday, when African footballing minnows Zambia overcame the odds and the pressure to win the African Cup of Nations for the first time in their history. Zambia, who were playing pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast, had only ever been to the finals on two other occasions.

Their opponents were, on paper, much the stronger side... with players like Didier Drogba, Gervinho, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Salomon Kalou and Emmanuel Eboue all plying their trade in Europe's elite footballing leagues and clubs. In contrast, Zambia's most high-profile players were probably Emmanuel Mayuka (who plays for Swiss club Young Boys) and James Chamanga (who plays for Dalian Shide).

In addition, the Zambians were also playing in the memory of a horrific airplane incident in 1993, which crashed with several first-team members of the national football team. The crash occurred not very far from the stadium they were playing in, in the Gabonese capital city of Libreville.

The Zambians said they vowed not to let either history or nerves get the better of them. And they did not. They were clearly the more attacking and more positive side through the match. In fact, it was a surprise to see the normally so confident Ivorians struggle to impose themselves on the game.

The first half saw decent chances for both sides, with Zambia's Rainford Kalaba and Ivory Coast's Yaya Toure testing the opposition keepers. Somewhat aimless counterattacks from Ivory Coast, led in main by Arsenal's Gervinho were perhaps the only major highlights of an otherwise ineffectual half for the favourites, nicknamed the Elephants (the Zambians, in turn, are the Copper Bullets).

The second half had a bit more life to it. The Elephants best chance was in the 69<sup>th minute, when Gervinho was fouled on the edge of the area. However, Drogba's spot kick was high, wide and not at all handsome.

Unfortunately, try as they might, neither side was able to break the deadlock... all through 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time.

The match went to penalties and it then became all about a test of nerves... of characters. Zambia's Stophira Sunzu was the golden boy for the Copper Bullets, firing home for his country to re-write history!

Check out photographs of all the action from Libreville...