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‘It won’t be easy;’ Avram Grant anticipates a tough AfCON run



CHIPOLOPOLO coach Avram Grant is under no illusion that Zambia will have it easy at the Africa Cup of Nations after being drawn alongside Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania.

Despite Friday’s loss to Egypt, Zambia have been on song under Grant as they are yet to lose any competitive match with the Israeli in charge.

Lesotho, Ivory Coast and Comoros have all failed to beat Chipolopolo under the stewardship of Grant.

Many fans will be hoping that the team will carry the same momentum going into the Africa Cup of Nations that takes place in Ivory Coast.

On Friday, the team was placed in Group F where 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco are clear favorites.

“It is a very tough draw any draw is not so easy but this is a very tough draw,” Grant reacted to the draw.

He said, “Morocco is now the best team in Africa they showed it in the World Cup, and Congo is a very good team. Tanzania have improved a lot. It is tough to play against them.”

Grant is no stranger to AfCON football as he has been to the competition on two occasions with the Black Stars of Ghana.

In 2015, Grant reached the final of the AfCON but lost to Herve Renard’s Ivory Coast. In 2017, he reached the third snd fourth playoff where he lost to Cameroon.

Meanwhile, Grant said he finds it strange that he will have to play Tanzania and Morocco in the AfCON and the World Cup qualifier.

(Mwebantu, Saturday, 14th 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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