AFTER a good shift against Congo Brazzaville, Group E leaders Zambia have a task to keep the momentum going when they face Niger at the Marrakech Stadium in Morocco tonight.
The journey to the 2026 FIFA World Cup continues for Chipolopolo who are looking to end their 55-year wait for an appearance at the biggest football stage on the globe.
Tonight, Avram Grant takes charge of a sixth competitive match at the helm of Chipolopolo with the aim of maintaining his unbeaten run since he was appointed.
Under Grant, Zambia has not lost a competitive match, they have a record of four wins and one draw in all competitions. Can they make it win number five? 90 minutes will tell.
Grant will have some bold decisions to make as regards his starting 11. Questions were raised over the capability of Fredrick Mwansa to man the sticks for Zambia following his showing against Congo Brazzaville on Saturday.
The expectation is that the Israeli will revert to Lawrence Mulenga in goal to save Mwansa some trouble. But Grant has shown that he is not one who easily bows to public pressure.
With that said, veteran defender, Stoppila Sunzu is expected to lead the back four that might be composed of Roderick Kabwe, Benedict Chepeshi, and central defender Dominic Chanda.
There were questions over Benson Sakala’s display in the 4 – 2 win over Congo. The former Power Dynamos captain may pave way for Clatous Chama while Emmanuel Banda takes up the defensive midfield duties.
Kings Kangwa, Lemeck Banda, Fashion Sakala and Patson Daka are sure starters, providing the much-needed attacking threat to Niger.
Zambia currently sit top of the group with three points, at par with Tanzania who have an inferior goal aggregate while Morocco, Niger and Congo Brazzaville are yet to pick a point.
Kick – Off is 21:00hrs.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 21st November, 2023)
CAF Awards: Barbra Banda makes the cut, Copper Queens misses out
IN BITTERSWEET news for Zambian football, striker Barbra Banda has been named among the finalists for the prestigious CAF Women’s Player of the Year award, but the Copper Queens have missed out on the final three for the National Team of the Year accolade.
The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has released the final nominees for various categories of the 2023 Awards that have been set for the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Monday.
There is a mixture of good and bad news for Zambia in that Banda has made it on the final three for the player of the year award in the women’s category but there was no place for the Copper Queens in the national team of the year category.
The Copper Queens had been in the race to be named the national team of the year, having made the initial top five nominee list but have since failed to make the cut for the final three.
The team has fallen off alongside Senegal, leaving the stage for Morocco, Nigeria and African champions South Africa.
On the bright side of things, Banda could be named the player of the year in the women’s category but she has to fend off competition from Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala and Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 7th December, 2023)
Zambia are Netball Champions
ZAMBIA have lifted the Africa Netball Cup in Botswana after defeating Namibia 57-55 in a tightly contested final.
The team has been impressive over the course of the tournament but appeared to meet their match in the final.
Zambia took a first quarter lead, but by the time the game was reaching half time the teams were tied at 23-23.
Namibia then controlled the game in the third quarter and managed to record a 35-33 lead.
Zambia did not give up, stretching the game into extra time when they tied 43-43 at full time.
In the end, the team managed the game and ran home 57-55 winners to be crowned champions.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 6th December, 2023)
Copper Queens Masterclass! Zambia put World Cup lessons to practice
ZAMBIA turned up the heat on Angola, again beating their opponent 6-0 at a near-full to-capacity Levy Mwanawasa Stadium to wrap up the Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAfCON) qualifiers with a 12-0 aggregate win.
The impressive crowd at the stadium got what they bargained for with the team putting a perfect performance, showing no mercy to Angola who never stood a chance going into this game.
Carrying a 6-0 advantage from the first leg, Zambia could still have qualified with a draw or slim defeat but the team was in no mood to compromise.
They got things running as early as the fifth minute when Rachael Kundananji benefited from a defensive lapse to score the opener.
By the time it was reaching the 14th minute, one turned two for Zambia when skipper Barbra Banda scored for the Copper Queens.
Leading 2-0 at the break, Zambia turned on the heat in the second half with veteran Susan Banda scored a screamer to triple Zambia’s advantage in this game.
There was still time Avell Chitundu, Esther Banda and Kundananji to score and take the scoreline to 6-0.
The scoreline probably suggests that the team picked valuable lessons from the likes of Spain and Japan at the World Cup in New Zealand.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 5th December, 2023)