By NDINAWE SIMPELWE -
CHIPOLOPOLO delegation leader to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier in Swaziland, Elijah Shenko’ Chileshe has described Zambia’s win against Swaziland in the opening CHAN qualifier as a perfect start to the campaign.
Zambia beat Swaziland 4-0 at Somhlolo Stadium in the second round first leg qualifier to ease the pressure ahead of the return leg slated for Lusaka this Saturday.
A Cletus Chama brace and a goal each from Brian Mwila and Fackson Kapumbu sealed the victory for the under-fire Chipolopolo and will reduce the pressure coach Wedson Nyirenda who has come under criticism from fans following the failure to win the COSAFA Castle Cup.
It was the first time Zambia was winning by that margin since 2013 when they beat Somalia in the Cecafa Cup.
Chileshe said the victory was marvellous as it had compensated the pain of losing the COSAFA final to Zimbabwe a week ago.
“This is a good start to the CHAN campaign. The work is not yet complete we need to finish it off in the return match in Zambia. The boys played well and managed to get the four goals, they played according to instructions,” Chileshe said.
He said as much as the victory was sweet, it was not time to celebrate as there was still work to be done.
He urged coach Wedson Nyirenda to ensure all the loopholes in the team were worked on before the return leg.
He further called on the fans to rally behind the team in the return leg as the players needed the support.
“We need the support, football is not for FAZ, it not for Shenko, it’s not for the government but it is for everyone. So let us support our team by turning up in numbers,” he said.
Both sides made changes to the teams that participated in the Cosafa Castle Cup with home side coach Pieter de Jongh naming nine Mbabane Swallows in the starting line up while Nyirenda also started with eight player who were not in South Africa.
Nyirenda dropped COSAFA captain Donashano Malama to the bench and gave the armband to Ziyo Tembo with Toaster Nsabata replacing Allan Chibwe in goal while Fackson Kapumbu, Augustine Mulenga, Simon Silwimba, Cletus Chama, Kondwani Mtonga, Ernest Mbewe and Martin Phir all started.
The changes paid dividends as Chipolopolo dominated the match from onset with Mulenga and Chama dictating play.
It was Chama who started the massacre in the 17th minute when he headed in unmarked from a Brian Mwila cross.
Zambia extended the lead nine minutes later with a powerful low shot from Mwila after Mulenga provided the assist from the left flank as Chipolopolo took a comfortable lead at the break.
Chipolopolo continued with their dominance in the second half and it was not long before the lead was extended after new call up Martin Phiri was brought down in the box by Machawe Dlamini to win a penalty for Zambia.
Chama stepped up and sent the goalkeeper Sandile Ginindza the wrong way to complete his brace.
Fackson Kapumbu ensured that the return match in Zambia will be a formality with a well taken free kick to seal the victory.
The winner after the two legs will progress to the final round of the qualifiers.
The team is expected to arrive back in the country tonight around 21:00hrs.