Zambia and Namibia today face off in a battle of supremacy at the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament in Morocco.
The two sides are joint group B leaders although Zambia has a superior goal difference.
Both teams have already qualified to the quarterfinals of the competition and today’s final group clash will be a battle for supremacy as either side will aim at showing potential to lift the trophy.
Zambia will meet either hosts Morocco or Sudan in the quartertfinal.
“Whether we have qualified to the next stage or not, the game against Namibia is very important. We are not going to relax but take the game with the seriousness it deserves. Our aim is to finish top of group B. We know our colleagues (Namibia) are also working hard,” Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda said.
Nyirenda’s side has been boosted with the return of teenage striker Godfrey Ngwenya who has been out due to a knee injury. The striker is however yet to be certified fit for today’s clash.
While Nyirenda is hoping for Ngwenya’s full recovery, the Zambian coach has enough ammunition to deliver the desired results.
Inform attacking midfielder Augustin Mulenga who terrorized Ivory Coast with a brace in last Thursday’s match will be Nyirenda’s hope against unpredictable Namibia.
Although Nyirenda has faith in all his players, Mulenga’s outstanding performance at the tournament has attracted interest and Namibia may just target him as the man to chase.
“All the players are working as a team. We may have some outstanding players but focusing much on specific players may cost us. Football is a team sport and individual players shine as a result of team effort,” said Nyirenda.
Skipper Ziyo Tembo has been consistent in marshaling the defence alongside Adrian Chama and Fackson Kapumbu while agile goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata remains Nyirenda’s first choice.
On the other hand, Namibian coach Ricardo Mannetti is expected to make changes to his starting line-up due to bookings from the first two games.
To be rested are defenders Riaan Hanamub, Ferdinand Karongee and match winner against Ivory Coast Charles Hambira.
Another player due to miss the game against Zambia is striker Hendrik Somaeb who is nursing a thigh injury.
“We have achieved the objective for being in the quarterfinal and now we have to assess whether we risk our defensive players who have been very key to our journey, having not conceded in two games, as we also prepare for the big test of the quarterfinal either against Morocco or Sudan on Saturday – we need to be objective and realistic about our targets and options,” said Mannetti ahead of the clash.