Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti lauded the Chipolopolo Boys performance as the Southern Africa football power house dismantled his side 4-1 at Heroes Stadium on Saturday in the final group K Egypt 2019 AFCON qualifier.
While Zambia struggled in the qualifiers under Belgian coach Sven Vandenbroeck, the Kabaso Chongo captained side redeemed themselves with a much improved performance demolishing the Brave Warriors completely. It was in star contrast with the performance in Namibia when Zambia needed a late Justin Shonga deflected free kick to earn a point.
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In Windhoek last year, Vandenbroeck had the likes of Stopilla Sunzu, Nathan Sinkala , Rainford Kalaba, Patson Daka, Fashion Sakala, Lubambo Musonda, Kennedy Mweene and Enock Mwepu at his disposal. Despite having an array of stars, the expatriate coach even went on to belittle Zambia’s footballing history.
On Sunday at Heroes Stadium, Aggrey Chiyangi fielded a team comprising mostly of players based in the South of the equator and the boys delivered.
It was the first time that there was no AFCON winner or European based player in the match day squad since the famous 2012 triumph in Gabon. Actually if it was a decade ago, former Chipolopolo captain Chris Katongo could have said it was Zambia’s second or simply Cosafa side.
Supersport’s veteran commentator Mark Gleeson said, ‘Zambia is one of the power houses on the continent ,’ in his opening remarks as he did commentary alongside Brian Mathe for the game. Yes, it felt like a Cosafa game! Namibia was the opposition with Gleeson in the commentary box!
Justin Shonga, Mwape Musonda, Donashamo Malama, Salulani Phiri and Augustine Mulenga from the South African PSL forming the backbone of the starting line up. Kabaso and Clatous Chama from the neighbouring Congo and Tanzania respectively.
Then four – Simon Silwimba, Adrian Chama, Lawrence Chungu and Toaster Nsabata- of the five in defence from the local league.
After the match, Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti had this to say.
“Zambia has players galore, talent galore. For us it was just to make sure that we keep up with our big brothers and today they taught us a lesson that although they did not make it, please Zambia you are still a great football nation and you will forever be,” he said.
“Yes it was not your time this time around. It is sad to see a team that you have just beaten 4-1 qualify for AFCON,” he added.
The copper Bullets put up a fantastic showing to beat Namibia 4-1with goals from Augustine Mulenga who scored a brace and Donashano Malama and Lazarus Kambole who each provided one goal.
Despite finishing last in the group Chiyangi and his boys gave Zambians something to cheer about and reminded them of what the team is capable of.