By MICHAEL MIYOBA
CHIPOLOPOLO’s pursuit to make history at the fifth edition of the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament kicking off today in Morocco, suffered a minor setback with the reported injury of midfielder Godfrey Ngwenya.
Ngwenya is said to have suffered a knock in his left knee during the 3-1 bashing of Orlando Pirates last Thursday.
Chipolopolo head coach Wedson Nyirenda confirmed the development in a statement issued to Daily Nation Sports from Morocco.
Nyirenda noted that the team travelled safely from South Africa.
“All is well so far. Players are okay except for Ngwenya who sustained a knock in his left knee. Doctors are however working on him to make sure that he is ready for the first match,” Nyirenda said.
The Chipolopolo’s quest to impress at this year’s edition begins tomorrow with Wada’s tutored local squad taking on an “improved” Ugandan national team.
The Chipolopolo boys are in Group B of the CHAN tournament and will do battle with group B opponents Namibia and Ivory Coast after the clash with the cranes of Uganda in their opening match.
Zambia will be making its third appearance at the championship which features players from their domestic leagues after finishing third in 2009 and in 2016 where they were eliminated at the quarterfinal stage by Guinea.
Zambia almost snatched the maiden title in Ivory Coast but were frustrated by eventual winners Congo DR who humiliated the Chipolopolo boys led by former coach Herve Renard to a 2-1 defeat in a semifinal fixture played in Abidjan.
The inaugural tournament also saw Zambian top striker Given Singuluma win the golden boot award after having scored a total of five goals.
Meanwhile host nation Morocco led by former Chipolopolo head coach Renard begin their campaign at this year’s edition with a group A clash with Mauritania.
Renard, who is one of the most successful coaches in Africa after having won three AfCON titles with three deferent countries, will seek his first CHAN title after having successfully qualified Morocco to the 2018 Russia world cup tournament.
Morocco will also battle it out for the knock out spot with 2016 semifinalists, Guinea and Sudan who came out third in the 2011 edition.