Chipolopolo Face Bafana Bafana in Cosafa Tie
The Chipolopolo boys conclude their Group A matches at the on-going Cosafa Cup with a tricky encounter against table topping South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this afternoon.
Defending champions Zambia need a win to at least boost its grim chances of squeezing through to the quarterfinals.
Although destiny is not entirely into their hands, the Chipolopolo will have to target a resounding win over Bafana Bafaana who have won all their matches at the tournament including a 4-0 drubbing of Lesotho.
South Africa are already through to the semi-finals with nine points while second placed Eswatini who are on six points need a result against Botswana today to confirm their qualification.
With goal difference touted as the first step in separating teams on joint points, Zambia will need a resounding win over South Africa whilst keeping an eye on the results in the other match.
Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho are on three points and mathematically stand a chance to squeeze through although the Likuena’s goal difference makes their chances impossible.
With less than 24 hours since all the teams played their last games, it will be a test of player management by the coaches with Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic expected to tinker with his squad.
The goalkeeping department could be marshalled by either skipper Kennedy Mweene who was rested or Gregory Sanjase who debuted against Botswana with his moment of lapse gifting the Zebras an equalizer.
With a regular shift in personnel at the back it could be down to the promising Dominic Chanda and Isaac Shamujompa in central defence while Simon Silwimba and Roderick Kabwe could be on the wingbacks.
Benson Sakala is favourite for the holding role where he was partnered with Adrian Chama with Kelvin Kampamba, Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga leading the attack. Micho has more robust options in Spencer Sautu and Felix Bulaya whose cameo appearance in the latter stages of the stages of the Zebras helped provide a spark in the Zambian attack.
The rampaging South Africans who have played all their matches at the imposing Nelson Mandela Stadium have the prolific Victor Lestoalo who became just the second player in South African football history to score an international hat-trick as his treble in a 4-0 win over Lesotho sealed top spot in Group A at the 2021 COSAFA Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The home side are now assured of a place in Friday’s semifinals, but who they will be up against, as well as who will be the second qualifier from their pool, will go down to the wire in Wednesday’s final round of games.
Letsoalo is the second Bafana Bafana player after Benni McCarthy against Namibia in 1998 to net a hat-trick as he opened the scoring inside five minutes to set the tone for the game.
Sphelele Mkhulise added a second midway through the first half, before Letsoalo bagged his brace just before the break.
The match kicks off at 15:00 hours and will be live on SuperSport and Cosafa TV.