Zambia may have drawn against Cameroon but the Chipolopolo bench is taking a lot of pluses from the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Chipolopolo held their own against the 2017 AFCON champions and were even heading to a famous 2-1 home win this afternoon at Levy Mwanawasa stadium before Yaya Banana’s stoppage time equaliser saw the match finish 2-2.
The draw saw Zambia finish with some pride in Group B in second place on 8 points one ahead of seven-time FIFA World Cup finalists Cameroon.
Nigeria clinched Group B on a runaway 14 points.
“There is a lot of hope in our team and the reason is simple; When we played the first games against Nigeria (lost 2-1 in Ndola) and Cameroon (1-1 away) I think we were going through a transitional period,” Zambia assistant coach Aggrey Chiyangi said.
“When you look at the new team now, most of the players are young and if you look at their performance that they have given us, they were excellent, even though they are lacking some experience.”
Zambia’s only Group B losses came at home and away against Nigeria while they beat Algeria 3-1 in Lusaka and 1-0 on the road in Constantine.
Against Cameroon, Zambia finished 1-1 away and 2-2 this weekend.
“But after playing these games, it has taught them a lot of things which we will build on,” Chiyangi said.
“And when we come to the AFCON qualifiers it will be very good for us because they have tasted big games, and played tough games and know how to play against strong teams. I can say we have a lot of hope.”
Meanwhile, Zambia scored through Patson Daka and Brian Mwila in the 25th and 63rd minutes respectively.
But Andre Zambo equalized in the 30th minute before Yaya Banana ensured they shared the points with a stoppage time goal.
Zambia return to action in March when they visit Namibia in a 2019 AFCON Group K qualifier with both teams seeking their first wins after opening their campaigns with losses against Mozambique and Guinea Bissau respectively.
However, home-based players return to camp in December to prepare for their 2018 CHAN finals outing in Morocco.