Player Rater: Zambia 4 – 1 Namibia (AFCON 2019 Qualifier)

Zambia defeated Namibia 4-1 on Sunday in a Group K African Cup of Nations at Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium.

Below the ZamFoot Crew takes a look at how the players fared.

Toaster Nsabata (6) -He did not have much to do as he was well covered by the hard working defense. Namibia only had their first shot on target round about the 60th minute. When he was beaten twice, he saved by the woodwork in the 27th minute and the referee who called back the the ball for a foul when Namibia thought they had pulled one back.

Simon Silwimba (6) – He had a solid game in defense. Didn’t let much pass on his end. He supported the attack very well and his combination with Augustine Mulenga was great to watch.

Lawrence Mulenga (4) – He looked shaky and could not just peg his attacker. Lost the ball easily and the visitors were running their attacks through his left back position. His best moment was when he ran back to throw in a last ditch tackle that cut out a dangerous a counter attack in the 7th minute.

Kabaso Chongo (8) – A captain’s performance on the day as he led from the back. He was imperious, sharp and agile and the Namibians could not get anything past him either in the air or on the ground. But most importantly he brought a calming effect to the defense.

This the first time Zambia started an AFCON or World Cup qualifier without any member of the class of ’12.

There was also no European based player on matchday

Adrian Chama (7) – He showed great positional sense and was quick to snuff out danger. He at times looked unsure with his clearances.

Donashano Malama (8) – What a shift he put in on the day. He was deployed to stop Petrus Shitembi every time the Lusaka Dynamos midfielder strayed into the final third of attack. He was willing to do the dirty work to ensure the back four had an extra hand. Crowned his performance with a goal  when finished a Mwape Musonda lay-off from close range.

Salulani Phiri (6) – Deployed to play alongside Malama in central defense but allowed to play box to box. He looked great going forward playing with urgency and was always looking for the defense splitting pass. But he fell short when the Chipolopolo were tracking back failing to pick the runners.

Cletus Chama (6) – Not his usual explosive self. He helped Chipolopolo keep a good balance on the left side of midfield. But he could have done more to support Chungu when tracking back.

The boys played for pride and delivered

Augustine Mulenga (9) – Two goals and an assist! He was involved in all the goals. He blasted home from outside the box for the opener before crossing for Mwape Musonda who cushioned the ball for Malama to blast from close range. He completed his brace with a glancing header and he was on hand to win the ball in the midfield and set up Lazarous Kambole for Zambias fourth. His marker had a lot of work on his hands.

Justine Shonga (7) – A disappointing night for the prolific goal scorer. He worked hard running the channels but he was substituted without a short on target, which is way below the standards he has set for himself with his previous performances.

Skipper Kabaso Chongo keeping a close eye on the ball

Mwape Musonda (6) – He set-up Donashano Malama for his goal but did not do much to trouble the Brave Warriors goalkeeper.

Substitutes

Lazarous Kambole 7 – Hardly saw the ball when he came in. But he made two runs on the left side into the box. First he was picked by Clatous Chama but despite beating his markers, his shot was straight at the keeper. He made no mistake when he was picked this time by Mulenga to blast home for the fourh.

Ernest Mbewe – Not rated

Benson Sakala – Not rated

Coach Rating 8/10

Numbers don’t lie – So a 4 – 1 scoreline is all this match will be remembered for. The caretaker coach went for a 4 4 2 and gave players who are doing well at their clubs the nod in their preferred positions but for Clatous Chama who deployed wide instead of the central attacking midfield position where he seems to thrive. When Shitembi Petrus started running the show the Namibia midfield, he reacted well be deploying Malama to marshal him. As the game wore on and Namibia throwing everything in attack, it was clear the strategy was to hit the visitors with pace as he withdrew Mwape and Shonga and brought in Kambole and Ernest Mbewe. This paid off with Kambole scoring the fourth. He should get credit for managing to motivate the team to play on top of their game despite his team being already out of the race. Zambia have not scored four at home since June 2013 when the Herve Renard coached side beat Lesotho 4 – 0 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in a World Cup qualifier.

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