LUSAKA — Free State Stars’ Kennedy Mweene has been lauded for his role in ensuring Zambia will be able to defend their African Nations Cup (Afcon) football title next year with coach Herve Renard singling out the goalkeeper.
Mweene pulled out a series of important saves during the match and then stopped the decisive penalty to give Zambia a 9-8 post-match shootout triumph after a 1-1 aggregate draw.
“When you’ve decided a Nations Cup final on penalties, then you are no longer nervous,” said Renard.
“The game was very difficult because we were not efficient back home when we met Uganda. That slender first leg win put us in a difficult situation. We were under pressure after they scored, but what is important is qualification.
“Our destiny was from the players, our goalkeeper saved us. Thank you, Kennedy.”
Mweene, who has been his club’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons, brushed it all off in his post-match analysis.
“The time we were taking penalties I was not worried. We’ve been in this situation before and we have emerged victorious.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has revealed the seeding for the draw for the 2013 Afcon.
Ivory Coast are among the top seeds, despite the abandonment of their second-leg tie with Senegal and no news of an official result from Caf.
The Ivorians were 6-2 up on aggregate when Saturday’s game in Dakar was called off because of crowd violence.
Tournament hosts South Africa are also among the top seeds, along with reigning champions Zambia and Ghana.
Cape Verde, who qualified for the first time in their history by pulling off a shock 3-2 aggregate victory over four-time champions Cameroon, are in the fourth pot.
Teams in the same pot cannot be drawn against each other.
The draw will be held on October 24 in Durban.
lPot 1: South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast
lPot 2: Mali, Tunisia, Angola, Nigeria
lPot 3: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Niger
lPot 4: Togo, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia.