Sport  |  Football  

Ambitious Zambia plots fall of Nigeria, Algeria

By Christian Okpara, with agency reports   |   29 June 2016   |   3:20 am

The Super Eagles met Zambia on Nigeria’s way to victory at the South Africa 2013 African Nations Cup. 											PHOTO: AFP.

The Super Eagles met Zambia on Nigeria’s way to victory at the South Africa 2013 African Nations Cup. PHOTO: AFP.

Zambia is seen as the weakest team in Group B of the Russia 2018 World Cup African qualifiers, but the Chipolopolo will have nothing of such low ratings. Zambia is in the same group with Africa’s number one team, Algeria, Nigeria and Cameroun in the qualifiers, which kicks off in October.

Many pundits believes the battle for the lone ticket from the ‘group of death’ is a straight fight between Algeria and Nigeria, with Cameroun likely to capitalise on any slip by the front runners to pick the ticket. But former Zambian captain and coach, Kalusha Bwalya, who was the country’s FA Chairman when the Chipolopolo against all expectations won the 2012 African Nations Cup, believes his country can cause a major upset in the race to Russia.

Kalusha says Zambia has the ability to beat any of the teams in the group because “we have beaten each of these teams before.” He told the Zambian Times, “Chipolopolo have had the better of Cameroun and Nigeria in the past.

Algeria have always given us some sleepless nights. I have confidence in the group of the players and let’s see what happens. Anything can happen in this group.

“Teams will get points off each other but our players should believe in themselves. It’s tough but it can be done. The bigger the names of the opponents, the better Zambia plays.”

He called for early preparations in the race to make it to Russia, as well as putting everything in place ahead of the first two games (at home to Nigeria and then away to Cameroun).He said Zambia just has to get good results and set the pace in the first two games as this will give the Chipolopolo a good chance as any team in the group.

FAZ president, Andrew Kamanga, has also hinted on the need for adequate preparations and support from key stakeholders factors that will help the Chipolopolo make history and qualify to their first World Cup.“It is a tough group and we will compete against three teams that have been to the World Cup. With good preparations and support from all stakeholders, we should have a good chance of qualifying,” Kamanga said.

Chipolopolo midfielder, Lubambo Musonda, said the team’s failure to qualify to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals does not mean they cannot have a shot at the World Cup.

Musonda said there was nothing special about their opponents and was confident that with the right attitude and team work, the Chipolopolo will qualify to the World Cup.

“It is a tough group yes, but even the darkest night will end with the sun shining. Challenges are meant for us to fight and we shall fight till the end. I believe we can do it,” he said.Musonda said the team has the right attitude and there was nothing special about its opponents.




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