From SHAMAOMA MUSONDA
in Rubavu –
GOALKEEPER Jacob Banda has urged the Chipolopolo to remain focused when they take on Guinea this evening to clinch a semi final at the Rwanda 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
This quarter-final match kicks-off at 18:00 hours at the Umuganda Stadium where Zambia has won all matches played at this venue but Banda has insisted team work will be the key in getting to the last four.
With little previous encounters between the two sides, records show just one meeting in 2006 which Zambia lost 2-1 and it will be the technical proficiency that will decide the game.
“We know it will be a tough game but what is important is to remain focused and determined to win and get to the semis. We have been working together and we shall continue doing so,” said the Zesco United shot stopper who has not yet conceded at this tournament.
Banda’s performance in goal was also praised by midfielder Isaac Chansa, the scorer of Zambia’s first goal at this tournament, saying the work of the back four and the keeper were key to the team’s stability.
“Jacob has made some really key saves. The back line has also been doing well and we are defending as a team,” Chansa said.
Guinea, competing at the CHAN for the first time, are generally looked at as a team that has achieved having gotten out of a group that had giants Nigeria, Niger and Tunisia before famously eliminating the Super Eagles with a 1-0 win.
“We can’t fear them just because they beat Nigeria, we shall respect them yes, because we know they are a good side and have some quality players. But the coach has analysed them and has a plan,” he said.
Coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina looks set to give Green Eagles’ striker Adamson Mulawo a first start at the national team ahead of Patson Daka.
Lwandamina will have a whole team back and available for selection including Salulani Phiri, who was injured midway the second game and missed the last group match.
His replacement Benson Sakala has been a more than able replacement and this should present Lwandamina with a selection headache with the same issue upfront where he seems to be favouring Mulawo start ahead of Patson Daka with captain Chris Katongo to play in midfield.
One factor about Guinea is that they will be without at least three players in striker Alseny ‘Agogo’ Camara and defender Aboubacar Leo Camara, both suspended for picking two yellow cards in the group games as well as Alseny ‘Cantona’ Camara, who has failed to recover from the injury.
Guinea coach Bangoura Kanfory Mohamed said Daouda Camara, who had picked up a knock in the game against Nigeria, was passed fit for the Zambia game.
But Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Kalusha Bwalya told the team not to look at the suspensions or injuries in the Guinea camp as an opportunity for the Chipolopolo to reach far.
“An injury or suspension in a team brings an opportunity to other players to show they are good and they work really hard. So the players who will come in for the suspended one will work extremely hard. So just work hard at your strengths,” he said.
In yesterday’s fun-filled training session, Kalusha watched the team train and addressed them afterwards and went on to join the penalty taking.
Probable Line up: Jacob Banda, Daudi Musekwa, Chris Munthali, Adrian Chama, Stephen Kabamba, Jack Chirwa, Isaac Chansa, Salulani Phiri, Adamson Mulawo, Chris Katongo, Cletus Chama.