Rainford Kalaba is still not happy that he missed what could have been Zambia’s winning penalty in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final.
The Zambian midfielder, who announced his retirement from football on Tuesday at the age of 36, spoke about how he feels when he recalls the unlucky penalty against Ivory Coast.
After a tightly contested penalty shootout with the score standing at 7-7, Kennedy Mweene saved Kolo Toure’s penalty to give Zambia a chance to lift the trophy for the first time.
Kalaba, one of the team’s stars at the time, stepped up to take the penalty but ballooned it over the bar.
He was a standout player throughout the tournament, scoring three goals in Zambia’s campaign to the final. His outstanding performance was sadly overshadowed by the missed penalty.
Zambia had another chance after Gervinho also missed his penalty kick, with Stopilla Sunzu emerging as the night’s hero when he sent Boubacar Barry in the wrong direction to win the Chipolopolo Boys’ first-ever AFCON trophy.
AFCON was bittersweet for Kalaba
However, despite emerging victorious with his team it was a bittersweet experience for the then-25-year-old Kalaba.
“When we won the Africa Cup, I think it was the best moment in my life,” he told Bolanews. “Because it was a big achievement for me and my career, we made history.”
While describing it as his best achievement, the former TP Mazembe captain also tells Bolanews that the worst experience of his career occurred during the 2012 AFCON final.
“Whenever I have criticism from people, you know, it’s my lowest moment,” he said. ” and missing the penalty, I think it was bad for me; my emotion was not 100%. So that was my worst moment.”
Kalaba is also among the few players in the team that notably did not pose much with the AFCON trophy on the victorious night.
Since joining Mazembe in 2011, the 36-year-old made over 280 appearances and scored over 70 goals.
Between 2005 and 2009, Kalaba also played for Nice in France and Braga, Gil Vicente, and Leiria in Portugal.
He won 17 trophies with Mazembe and the Zambian Super League with Zesco United in 2007.
Kalaba made his Chipolopolo derby in 2005 and was capped 103 times scoring 15 goals international goals