Travel-weary Zambia arrive in Marrakech

By Kalumiana Kalumiana -
THE Zambia national football team yesterday rolled into Marrakech in readiness for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament that kicks off tomorrow in Casablanca.
After spending almost half-a-day travelling to Casablanca from South Africa via the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the team took a four-hour drive to Marrakech where they and the rest of the Group B teams will be based.
Zambia open their quest to win a maiden CHAN title with a tricky tie against Uganda on Sunday evening.
Wedson Nyirenda’s side played a couple low-key friendly games going into the tournament, including a 3-1 beating of South African giant side Orlando Pirates.
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic believes Chipolopolo are one of favourites at 2018 CHAN in Morocco.
In an interview from Johannesburg on Wednesday after Chipolopolo beat Pirates 3-1 in a friendly played at Rand Stadium, Micho described Zambia as a team that plays as a unit.
Goals from Lazarus Kambole, Fackson Kapumbu and Alex Ng’onga handed Chipolopolo   victory over theSouth Africa Premier Soccer League giants.
“It is a well-balanced team that will reach far at CHAN. Zambia has a good, experienced and very competitive team and I wish them all the best,” said Micho, who is the immediate past Uganda coach.
But Micho, who rested his key players in the friendly for Saturday’s away Gauteng derby against Mamelodi Sundowns, declined to give his assessment of Chipolopolo’s clash against his former charges Uganda.
Chipolopolo face Uganda on Sunday January 14 in Marrakech in both sides opening Group B fixture.
Micho guided Uganda to two CHAN tournaments in 2014 in South Africa and 2016 in Rwanda where he lost 1-0 to Chipolopolo in a group game played at Umuganda stadium in Rubavu.
He later guided Uganda to their first AFCON appearance in 39 years when they qualified to the 2017 finals in Gabon.

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