SUN SPORTS writes @SunZambian THE Zambia National team have qualified for the 2021 African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarter-finals after struggling to gain a point in a goalless match against Namibia on Wednesday evening at Limbe stadium in Cameroon. Head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said it is never easy playing against a team that has […]
SUN SPORTS writes
THE Zambia National team have qualified for the 2021 African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarter-finals after struggling to gain a point in a goalless match against Namibia on Wednesday evening at Limbe stadium in Cameroon.
Head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said it is never easy playing against a team that has nothing to lose as was the case, following the Warrior’s Group bottom exit.
And Namibia coach Bobby Samaria said his team restricted Zambia’s dominance to long range attempts.
In a post-match press conference, Micho said people had a right to count Zambia out in the quarter-final clash against Morocco but he believes that the Chipolopolo are strong enough to reach the semi-finals.
Zambia booked a quarterfinal date with Morocco on Sunday in Doula after having been held to a goalless draw by Namibia who had already been eliminated.
“It is not easy to play against a team that has no pressure but has the intention to be party spoilers in away. They have proudly played for their country and I give them credit to the coach and his team,” Micho said.
“We need to critically look at ourselves why from 20 attempts, not even one could finish where it is supposed to finish. This is now something that we need to look at critically and we need correct all this before playing quarter-final match.”
Micho said Morocco could enjoy the accolade of favourites ahead of Sunday’s game but his charges will give their best.
According to FAZ Media, Chipolopolo captain Adrian Chama says the team will prepare adequately for Sunday’s game against CHAN defending champions Morocco in the quarter-finals at Stade de la Reunification in Doula.
In a post-match interview after Zambia drew 0-0 with Namibia to finish second in Group D and book a date against the Atlas Lions, Chama said Namibia made life difficult for the Chipolopolo in the final group match.
“Today’s (Wednesday) game was a very tricky one, looking at Namibia, I am sure it was evident that from our group Namibia were playing good football. Statistically they created many chances in our group, it is just that their conversion ratio was too low,” he said.
Chama said Morocco will pose a greater challenge, but the Chipolopolo will be ready.
“Morocco will be a bigger challenge, but one which we are ready for. Coming into this tournament we had set our targets as a team, the first one was to go past the group stage, today we reached that target, we will prepare adequately for Sunday’s game against Morocco.”
Zambia qualified to the quarterfinals after beating Tanzania 2-0 before drawing 1-1 with Guinea. In the final game Zambia drew 0-0 with Namibia.
The Chipolopolo will shift base to Doula where they will face the Atlas Lions of Morocco.
It was a disjointed display littered with misfiring offensive play but Zambia did enough to labour to a draw to finish second in Group D tied on 5 points with leaders Guinea to both advance to the last eight.
Namibia too had their problems and almost gifted Zambia an own-goal in the 38th minute when goalkeeper Ndisiro Kamaijanda collided with Pat-Nevin Uanivi while trying to clear the ball that fortunately rolled inches wide with both having their backs to goal.
Captain Chama then headed wide the resultant corner taken by Zachariah Chilongoshi.
Striker Emmanuel Chabula also had a good chance in the 44th minute that he wasted when he too nodded Chilongoshi’s cross off target.
The second half was spark-less but Spencer Sautu, who had replaced Moses Phiri in the 57th minute, produced something close to quality in stoppage time when his speculative shot from range on the left wing went inches wide of the far right post.
Zambia now leaves Limbe for Douala where Morocco awaits them in the first quarterfinal at 18h00 on January 31 in their debut CHAN meeting and also Chipolopolo’s their first-ever North African opponent at the same tournament.
Guinea, who rallied twice against Tanzania to finish 2-2 in Douala, head back to Limbe to play Rwanda in the second quarterfinal on the same date.
Meanwhile, Zambia is now chasing their first semi-final appearance since 2009 following a third place finish at the inaugural tournament held in Ivory Coast.