10 August 2017 11:43
Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda is wary of South Africa ahead of this weekend’s Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 final round first leg clash, but is still optimistic of an ideal result in East London.
Bafana Bafana host Chipolopolo at the Buffalo City Stadium on Saturday, 12 August 2017, hoping that lightning can strike twice for them against their neighbours in the qualifiers for the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
This will be the two sides’ second meeting in a CHAN qualifier since the race to the 2011 edition in Sudan tournament when the South Africans edged their Zambian counterparts 2-1 on aggregate.
“I think there is always a first time for everything. We will just go into this game with an open mind that we are going to play a tough team but we hope to break that jinx,” Nyirenda said.
The meeting is also their second in 2017 after the Chipolopolo rallied to beat Bafana 2-1 in a friendly at Moruleng on 13 June 2017.
“It has never been an easy game especially after playing the same team again in such a short time. I am sure they have prepared for us because they now know our players. What is cardinal is how we gel and plan for them,” Nyirenda added.
However, Nyirenda goes into the match without his talismanic striker in the qualifiers, Brian Mwila, who is now ineligible following his move from Zambian club Green Buffaloes to South African side, Platinum Stars, few days ago.
Mwila scored in both legs of the previous round last July as Zambia beat Swaziland 4-0 and 3-0 home and away to reach the final round.
Another setback is Power Dynamos striker Alex Ngonga, drafted to replace Mwila, will miss the East London clash due to his pending wedding.
Nyirenda was hoping Ngonga could add some firepower after his attack drew blank in their 0-0 draw against Ethiopia in a buildup game to the South African first leg clash last Saturday in Lusaka.
Red Arrows striker Lubinda Mundia has replaced Ngonga and will be expected to renew his partnership with Justin Shonga, who was on target in the Swazi double.
Meanwhile, first choice goalkeeper, Toaster Nsabata is available after recovering from an injury he suffered on league duty with his club, Zanaco, last week.
The second leg will take place on Saturday, 19 August 2017, in Ndola with the winner grabbing one of the three South Zone slots for the final tournament scheduled for 12 January to 4 February 2018 in Kenya.
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