THE 4th edition of the Orange Africa Nations Championship gets underway today but it is the attention the match pitting Zambia against Zimbabwe on Tuesday that is causing ripples in the two countries.
However Chipolopolo Coach George Lwandamina has maintained a low profile, refusing to get emotional ahead of the showdown against the neighbours who beat Zambia 1-0 during the qualifiers in the last edition to shunt the Chipolopolo out of the third edition played in South Africa.
Lwandamina is maintaining his profile because the Tuesday encounter will be the first time the two trans-Zambezi rivals will face each other in a CAF continental competition and both Coaches of the teams know what is at stake.
However, Zambia and Zimbabwe have enjoyed numerous clashes at regional level in the Cosafa zone where they are joint four-time kings.
But Zambia has an edge over Zimbabwe from their Cosafa meetings boasting of four wins and two defeats and Chipolopolo enjoy two triumphs from three final meetings against The Warriors.
“So many people have spoken so much about Zimbabwe. We will give the game the respect it deserves. We are going for a tournament and Zimbabwe is not the only team we will face.” Lwandamina said.
However, unlike Zambia, Zimbabwe have qualified for all the four editions of the CHAN but reached the knockout stage for the first time in 2014 whose highlight was a fourth place finish.
Zambia’s only other appearance was at the inaugural tournament held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 where they finished third.
Uganda and Mali are the other teams in Group D the two sides the Chipolopolo will face at the CHAN that will run from January 16 to February 7.