Newcastle’s star midfielder Cheick Tiote has spoken for the first time today, of his heart-break at losing the African Cup of Nations to Zambia.
Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote – in action in the African Cup od Nations
The game against Zambia ended up 0-0 after extra time and that was after Didier Drogba, of all people, had missed a penalty for the Ivorians after 70 minutes in regular time, when he ballooned the ball over the bar.
The Ivory Coast were one of the hot favorites before the tournament began, and even bigger favorites before the final against Zambia, who had never won the tournament – and the Ivory Coast were winners back in 1992.
And Cheick’s team will go down in history as the only side never to have conceded a goal in regular time or extra time, yet still lost the tournament, as they went down agonizingly 8-7 on penalties, after all first 14 penalties had been converted.
And Cheick Tiote played his part in the final, make no mistake about that, because not only did he play the full 120 minutes, but he took the very first penalty – and scored too.
This is what Cheick said today:
“All the people there, they love the national team and they love the country,” “So we are really disappointed because we didn’t win the competition.”
“I gave my medal to my friend because I was so disappointed. I didn’t want to keep that, so I gave it to my friend.” “We did well, but we didn’t win it. Maybe next year we will win the competition.”
With the hopes of a country resting on his shoulders, Tiote showed great courage to step up and take the first penalty, slotting past Kennedy Mweene.
“Normally I never take penalties, but I took the responsibility to take a penalty because it was difficult for other players to take the first penalty.”
“So I took the responsibility to take the first penalty and I scored, which gave confidence to my team-mates.” “But although we did well in the competition, in the final we were unlucky in the penalty shoot out and lost the game.”
“That’s football – you cannot win every time, so I will look to the next game ahead and stay positive.”
Cheick did his very best for his country, and that’s all you can ask of anybody.
But the Newcastle man showed his real courage and guts by volunteering to take the first penalty for the Ivory Coast, and the first one of the penalty shoot-out.
And to score showed you the big heart and great spirit this lad has.
We’re so pleased to have Cheick Tiote on Newcastle’s books, and we offer Cheick our congratulations, and even though the side failed at the very last hurdle – we are very proud of him.