Nineteen years after a plane crash which killed 18 members of their squad in Libreville, the Chipolopolo returned to the Gabon capital to record the most famous victory in the country's history;
Subs Not Used: Kalililo, Kasonde, Mbesuma, Chamanga, Chivuta, Chintu, Kangwa, Sakuwaha, Titima.
Booked: Nyambe Mulenga.
Ivory Coast: Barry, Tiene, Toure, Bamba, Gosso, Zokora (Konan 75), Tiote, Toure Yaya (Bony 86), Gervinho, Kalou (Gradel 63), Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Yeboah, Boka, Doumbia, Coulibaly, Keita, Lolo, Eboue,Gnanahouan.
Booked: Tiote, Bamba.
Referee: Badara Diatta (Senegal).
The final proved a tale of penalty woe for Ivory Coast, chasing their first continental crown for 20 years, with Didier Drogba also failing from the spot during the 90 minutes.
But the win was ultimately no more than Zambia deserved for a plucky display against the odds.
The underdogs started brightly and almost claimed a second-minute lead, Nathan Sinkala's low drive superbly saved by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry low to his right.
Zambia boss Herve Renard was forced into a reshuffle after 11 minutes when defender Joseph Musonda was forced from the field in tears after catching his knee in the turf when making a challenge.
Nyambe Mulenga came on but the change did not disrupt the Zambians' flow, with Chisamba Lungu looping a header narrowly over two minutes later.
The match degenerated into a scrappy affair after half-time with neither side able to put together a period of sustained pressure.
The Arsenal forward burst into the area and was felled by a combination of Isaac Chansa and Mulenga, but Drogba sidefooted his spot-kick horribly over the bar.
The Elephants had another chance to win it in normal time but substitute Max Gradel, having turned his man inside the area, shot inches wide of the far post.
Zambia had the only chance in the first period of extra-time and it almost resulted in the opening goal.
Felix Katongo beat his marker down the right and crossed for brother Christopher, whose close-range shot would have sneaked in at the near post but for a vital touch from Barry's boot.
The shoot-out was locked at 7-7 after 14 nerveless penalties before Kolo Toure saw his effort saved by Kennedy Mweene.
Rainford Kalaba fluffed his big moment by shooting over the bar but there was no second reprieve when Gervinho missed and Sunzu slotted in.