Battle of the Zambezi Looms AFCON Final Qualifier tie
The Chipolopolo boys conclude their Group H Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign this evening (Monday) with a battle for pride against the Warriors of Zimbabwe. Having crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations campaign after a 3-3 draw with African champions Algeria on home turf on Thursday, Zambia will be looking to salvage wounded pride against neighbours Zimbabwe.
Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has a star cast assemblage for this assignment that includes European based stars in Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu (both Red Bull Salzburg) and Poland domiciled Lubambo Musonda who is on the books of Slask Wroclaw.
On the African continent Micho has the magic of Clatous ‘Chota’ Chama, the hard-working Gamphani Lungu, the versatile Roderick Kabwe, the defensive TP Mazembe duo of Kabaso Chongo and Thandi Mwape. Cyril Chibwe who is staking a claim for the long-term prospects of a goalminder in Chipolopolo colours is also available for selection with the fluid Rally Bwalya also in the frame.
The best of the local contingent has the likes of Collins ‘Malouda’ Sikombe, Allan Chibwe, Benson Sakala, Adrian Chama, Spencer Sautu, Moses Phiri Amity Shamende and Benedict Chepeshi.
Others are Lameck Siame, Dominic Chanda and Paul Katema.
While Zambia will be fiercely expected to battle for pride it could also be an opportunity to give some fringe players an opportunity to get some action under their belt.
The game will partly serve as an audition for the forthcoming Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers where Zambia is in Group B alongside Tunisia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea.
Zimbabwe coach Zdravko Logarusic will be looking to put the icing on the cake after having qualified to the Africa Cup of Nations with a game to spare.
Logarusic has several players plying their trade in the Zambia Premier Leaguelike Nkana’s trio of Talbert Shumba, Jimmy Dzingai and Gilroy Chimwewe and Zesco United’s duo of Thabani Kamusoko and Tafadzwa Rusike. Only Rusike started from the bench the Warriors’ last match in Francistown where the team won to qualify.
Zimbabwe will be looking to the inspiration of their star player Knowledge Musona whose European credentials have been part of their drive.
Kickoff for the match is at 21:00 hours at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
The match will be live on Zimbabwe Television.