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‘Bring them on;’ Fashion Sakala declares Chipolopolo ready to face any opponent at AfCON



EXCITEMENT has moved a notch high in the Chipolopolo camp as the team waits to learn of their Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON) group opponents when the draw is conducted this evening.

Zambia ended their eight-year wait for an AfCON appearance after a good run in the qualifiers where they topped Group H with 13 points. The last time Zambia played at the AfCON was 2015.

Tonight, just moments after taking on Egypt in an international friendly the players will turn their attention to the proceedings at the Parc des Exposition d’Abidjan, Ivory Coast where the draw will be conducted.

Zambia is in pot three, alongside South Africa, Cape Verde, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania.
This means, they cannot share the same group with the teams they have in their pot. The leaves them with a possibility of drawing at least two big guns and one underdog from Pots One, Two and Four.

Pot One has Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt while Pot Two has Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and DR Congo.

Pot Four boasts of Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Namibi, Angola, Gambia and Tanzania.
Striker Fashion Sakala said Chipolopolo is ready for any team.

“I think we are ready to compete with any team,” Sakala said. “the team looks good; we are ready to meet any team; we were talking about it with some of my teammates; we don’t care; we are ready to meet any team, any country,” Sakala said.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 12th October, 2023)


‘I will be back’ Hazel Nali



COPPER Queens goalkeeper Hazel Nali is relishing a comeback, to catch up on lost time having been kept on the sideline due to a lengthy injury.

Nali is currently on the mend, recovering from her knee injury that saw the player ruled out of the World Cup that was staged in Australia and New Zealand.

The shot stopper recently arrived in Zambia from New Zealand where she underwent surgery. She has since entered the next phase of the road to recovery.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, she expressed gratitude for the support she had been getting since she got injured.

“I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude towards my stay in New Zealand , I got injured a few days to the biggest tournament which is the World Cup. A Tournament I have always wanted to participate [in] as a young dreamer.

“The injury almost made me lose hope of ever going to play and walk nicely on both legs but the unmatched love and care in New Zealand gave me some hope,” Nali said.

She hailed, Dr Mwandila, High Commissioner Dr Elias Munshya and other stakeholders for the support.

“I have massive hope of relighting my career on the field of play within the possible time, everyone in New Zealand has been supportive and encouraging while I was out there injured. Massive thanks go to the Zambian Government, Sports Minister Mr Elvis Nkandu i really appreciate for the father figure role you played, The Football Association of Zambia, The Ministry and the people back home for the support and warm encouragement,” Nali said.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 23rd November, 2023)

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OPINION: Grant, an Architect of His Own Loss



IT IS shocking to hear Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant blaming the referee for the team’s 2-1 loss to Niger in the World Cup Qualifier. Grant’s comments are an attempt to deflect responsibility for the loss.

In his post-match comments, Grant claimed that the referee “The referee also helped them”, such comments demonstrate Grant’s inability to accept responsibility for his team’s shortcomings.

The truth is that Zambia lost the game because of Grant’s tactics and his inability to make timely substitutions. Grant set up his team to fail by fielding a lineup that lacked balance and defensive solidity.

Zambia’s midfield was overrun by Niger’s attackers throughout the match, a direct result of Grant’s decision not to play a natural defensive midfielder. The team was also unbalanced, with too many attack-minded players and not enough defensive cover.

Grant’s indecisiveness was also a factor in Zambia’s defeat. He was slow to make substitutions, and he kept ineffective players like Fashion Sakala on the pitch for too long.

We hope that Grant will reflect on his mistakes and make the necessary changes to improve his team’s performance. I wish him well as he prepares the team for the AfCON.

(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 22nd November, 2023)

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Zambia lose, Group E remains open



GROUP E of the World Cup qualifiers has been left wide open with four terms on three points following Zambia’s 2-1 defeat against Niger at the Marrakech Stadium in Morocco.

The defeat was coach Avram Grant’s first loss in competitive matches since he took over as Chipolopolo coach from Aljosa Asanovic.

Going into the game, Chipolopolo led the group with three points, at par with Tanzania but the defeat relegates Zambia fourth with the same number of points as leader Morocco who have played a game less.

Zambia started the game flat, going down to an Amadou Moutari goal in the sixth minute to set Chipolopolo on the path of defeat.

By the 28th minute, one turned two for Niger when Boubacar Goumey struck from close range to take the match to 2-0.

Down at halftime, Zambia sought for an equalizer and they managed to get one five minutes after the restart.

Patson Daka headed in from close range when the Niger keeper failed to deal with a Clatous Chama shot.

Niger defended for dear life to keep the score at 2-1 and win the match.

In the other Group match, Morocco beat Tanzania 2-0 while Congo Brazzaville had a free day owing to Eritrea’s withdrawal.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 21st November, 2023)

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