‘I DON’T think about losing,’ were Chipolopolo coach Avram Grant’s immediate comments when quizzed about the importance of today’s game against Tanzania at the Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON) in Ivory Coast.
After playing to a 1-all draw against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chipolopolo takes on another neighbour in what Netizens have branded the Nakonde border derby.
In derbies, the stakes are always high, and this one is no different for Zambia even though they go into the match as slight favourites.
Player for player, Zambia have a slight edge. Added to that, the Tanzania camp has been rocked with turbulence following the dismissal of their coach Adel Amrouche.
There is no room for error, it is a must-win for both teams, Grant has been forthright, and he is not thinking about losing.
“I don’t think about losing, I know it [losing] is part of the game but we must be positive. In every game that comes we must be positive,” Grant said.
Zambia is second from the bottom with one point, anything other than a win will compromise their chances of progressing to the round of 16.
“We want to qualify for the next round. We are always looking to improve in all aspects, be it defense or offense. I don’t think about losing before the game. We know it’s a tough game but we think positively about each game,” Grant said.
Tanzania are group tail enders having started their run with a 3-0 loss to Morocco.
Kick off is 20:hrs Central African Time.
(Mwebantu, Sunday, 21st January, 2024)
Strugglers Clash: Nkana and Trident in relegation fight
IT IS said when two elephants clash, it is the grass that surfers. That leaves the question, ‘what suffers when two strugglers clash?’ That question will be answered in the match between Trident and Nkana.
Struggling Nkana have made a trip to Solwezi where they will be hosted by fellow strugglers Trident who until Sunday had never known what if felt like to win a football match.
Given what is at stake for both teams, this game is expected to be the biggest focus of Week 23 in the Super League but we will be quick to mention that there are other interesting fixtures.
Nkana have 23 points, 10 better than bottom placed Trident. A win for the former champions will take them out of the relegation provided Kansanshi Dynamos drop points to Konkola Blades.
What else is there to look out for in the league today?
Well, defending champions Power Dynamos host Green Buffaloes in a game that will be preceded by a match between Forest Rangers and FC MUZA in a lunch time kick off at Arthur Davies Stadium.
Leaders Red Arrows will be at the REIZ Arena, formerly Woodlands Stadium for a date against Perry Mutapa’s Napsa Stars while Nkwazi face Kabwe Warriors at Edwin Imboela Stadium.
Prison Leopards await the visit of Zanaco at President Stadium in Kabwe, while Green Eagles face Zesco United with Konkola Blades facing Kansanshi Dynamos.
Playing tomorrow is Mufulira Wanderers and Mutondo Stars at Shinde Stadium.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 2nd March, 2024)
‘It’s not necessary to react to fans,’ Bruce Mwape parries criticism
COPPER Queens coach Bruce Mwape has put up a brave face following criticism that has been directed at him on the team’s performance in the 3 – all draw against Ghana.
Zambia may have qualified to the next round of the Paris Olympic Games qualifiers but many fans were left unimpressed with the team’s performance against Ghana.
The Copper Queens were outrun in midfield while the defence made errors that could have cost the team had Barbra Banda and Kabange Mupopo not put up a good show.
However, the displeasure at the team’s performance has been directed at Mwape with fans calling for his dismissal after spending close to a decade at the helm of the team.
Reacting to suggestions that its time up, Mwape said during the post-match interview yesterday that he is not one who pays much attention to what supporters say.
“Most of the times, it is not necessary to react to the comments from the fans, they are entitled to their opinions,” Mwape said, “me I stick to what I know and I make sure that I do my job accordingly.”
Meanwhile, Mwape conceded that his side was overrun in midfield.
He said he has picked valuable lessons from that game.
“The lesson that we have lent from this game is to defend well and when it comes to defending we need to defend as a team,” he said, “We will look for options before we meet the next opponent,”
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 29th February, 2024)
Barbra Banda powers Zambia to next round
THE Copper Queens are through to the final stage of the Olympic Games Qualifiers after a last minute strike from skipper Babra Banda earned them a 3-all draw against Ghana.
Carrying a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, all Zambia needed to do was to avoid defeat in the second leg but things looked to be going against them until Banda showed up at the last minute.
The game started on a positive note for Zambia when the team was put ahead by Banda in the 11th minute but the Ghanaians leveled the score through Gifty Assifuah in the 21th minute.
Tied at the break, Ghana took initiative in the second half, with Doris Boaduwaa beating Catherine Musonda in the 55th minute to hand the Black Queens the lead.
At this stage, Zambia were out of the tie, but they were handed a lifeline in the 61st minute through veteran striker Kabange Mupopo who beat an offside trap to finish off a pass from Rachael Nachula.
Ghana restored the lead in the 64th minute through Bugre Azumah.
With then game firmly in Ghana’s favour, Zambia were handed a free kick at the death.
Banda took the free kick and drove the ball past the wall and into the net to send the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 28th February, 2024)