Influential Chipolopolo playmaker Salulani Phiri has suffered a hip contusion and will not be available for selection for Zambia’s final Group D fixture against Mali tomorrow.
He was voted man of the match when the Chipolopolo edged Zimbabwe 1-0 in the Group D opening game played at Umuganda stadium in Rubavu. Veteran Isaac Chansa scored the goal to hand the Chipolopolo the first three points.
Salulani picked up the injury in Zambia’s impressive and decisive 1-0 victory over Uganda which sealed Chipolopolo’s quarter finals place on Saturday. It was the first time Zambia qualified to the knock out phase of a major continental championship with a game to spare. Salulani sat out of Monday’s training at the Mumena Stadium in Kigali.
“He has a right hip injury and he’s on treatment. He cannot play against Mali. We will continue with treatment and assess his progression going into the quarter finals,” Zambia doctor Joseph Kabungo confirmed.
With victory over Mali assured, Zambia will win Group D and return to Rubavu for the quarter final clash against opposition from Group C.
Dr Kabungo also said that Buchizya Mfune had recovered from the throat infection he suffered. Buchizya was back in training yesterday morning and should be available for selection tomorrow in the match scheduled for the Nyamirammbo Regional Stadium at 16:00.
Following the 100 per cent unbeaten run in the first two group matches, the Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) has appealed to Coach Lwandamina to urge his charges to take the game seriously and beat Mali and finish top of the group.
CSFA chairman Yotham Mwanza said his members were impressed with the discipline, commitment and team work the players have exhibited in the games against Zimbabwe and Uganda and prayed that the team would maintain the same spirit when they face Mali tomorrow.
“There is every hope and reason the team does not drop any game enroute to the next stage of the competition. Mali should be taken with the seriousness they deserve so that the Chipolopolo do not drop any points,” Mwanza said.
Depending on the outcome of the game against Mali, Zambia is likely to meet either Nigeria who are leading Group C with four points or Tunisia and Guinea who have two points each.