Libya wins the CHAN 2014 and claim first African senior title.

February 1, 2014 11:28 pm0 comments by:

 

CHAN 2014Libya wins the 2014  CHAN (orange African Nations Championship) to claim first African senior title.There is a widely said phrase in football that anything can happen in a one off Cup match. Another football phrase is that penalty shoot out is a lottery. Few phrases continue to exist and become applicable on a constant basis. Libya showed that anything can happen in a one off match but disapproved the phrase penalty shoot outs is a lottery. Today, Libya beat Ghana in final to capture the 2014 CHAN  on penalties.

This was their third match in a row to end in penalties and once again they won the contest. Ghana is a better team than Libya on paper. However, Libya proved to be champions in penalty shoot outs in this tournment. This was evident in both teams route to the final. Libya won against Ethiopia but drew with DR Congo and Ghana in the group phrase. Ghana won against Ethiopia and DR Congo.

In the Quarter final and Semi final, Libya showed their lack of attacking treats and strong penalty taking ability with a 5-3 and 5 -4 penalty wins. The opponents were Gabon in quarter final and Zimbabwe.

In contrast, Ghana struggled to beat DR Congo and then beat the favourites Nigeria in a penalty shoot out. Therefore, Libya went into the final knowing that the best way to win is to take into penalty shoot out. You might think this was a risky strategy considering that Libya lost to Ghana in their previous shoot out. In addition, it is possible that their luck might run out after a quarter final and semi final encounters.

The match was attended by the usual delegations, which come to show solidarity. This included CAF President Issa Hayatou and invited guest FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

However, they would have hoped to see better attacking situations and goals to cap it. But, deep down knew it would go into a penalty shoot outs.

Libya did not create many attacking situations during normal time and Ghana showed few glimpses to indicate a possible break through. It is possible that the fixtures played a part in the lack of entertainment. Both teams had to play six games in a day short of three weeks. This includes the extra-time for Ghana in semi final against Nigeria and 2 extra-time matches for Libya.

Both sides spurned chances to score a goal in the second period of extra time. Ghana’s best hope fell to Sulley Mohamed. His shot at goal flew close past the right upright and a few minutes later it was the turn of Libya. Abdelsalem Omar was unmarked in the Ghana’s six yard box but his header safely saved with only the Goalkeeper Stephen Adams to beat in goal.

Given the history of past matches between these two countries and their draw during the group phase match, extra time came as no surprise.

Their previous two meetings in the group stages of this year’s competition and the 2009 event ended in 1-1 draws, while Ghana won the penalty shoot-out in the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations final after the teams finished level at 1-1 after extra time.

The first 5 penalty shoot-out ended in 3-3 as Ghana and Libya missed two spot kicks.The sixth proved a spot kick too far for Ghana, as Joshua Tijani missed and Ahmed El Trbi scored for Libya to win the 2014 CHAN Edition.

The fact that the match ended in penalty shoot outs without goals should not disguise the enormous feat accomplished by Libya. The 16 teams that competed in this edition of the CHAN all hoped to win the competition. They would not have minded how it is won. I am sure if they were told that it would be achieved via penalty shoot outs. They would take it with both hands.

I am aware that the objective of football  is to score more than your opponent and win the match. However, a team has to score more goals than their opposition. If not it is decided via penalty shoot out to decide a winner. Ghana should have done more to win the match in normal time or extra time. They beat Nigeria in the semi final and probably were confident against Libya in the final.

We should all give Libya credit for keeping their cool in tense situations. My overall view is that the best team did not win but it is a cup competition. Libya showed to be King of penalty taking and will be over the moon with their victory.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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