Lwandamina plots Mali downfall
Chipolopolo Coach George Lwandamina says the war cry sounded by Mali against Zambia when the two nations meet in today’s CHAN 2016 Group D final match will not scare him into changing his game plans of ensuring his side completes the preliminary round with maximum points.
Zambia has already qualified to the quarter finals with six points from two games and would amass the full nine points from three games with victory over the West African side.
Mali Coach Djibril Drame has said that today’s game against Zambia would be war as his side seeks to qualify to the last eight ahead of Uganda who will be up against Zimbabwe who have automatically been eliminated from the Championship.
“We have taken all our games one at a time and Mali is not going to change our game plan. The players know what is at stake and are going into the game without holding anything back” he said.
A point will be enough for Mali to reach the quarter finals but will need maximum points to dislodge Zambia.
Drame has maintained that the Chipolopolo will not have it easy as his side was targeting finishing top of the table adding that though Zambia was considered one of the best teams on the continent, he will strategize a way to beat them.
“Chipolopolo will not have it easy and the game against them today will not be a walk in the park. We are ready to meet them and win and finish top of the table but we will have to work hard to get the desired results” Drame said.
Drame is however wary of the threat posed by veterans Isaac Chansa and Captain Katongo who have both been on song in the last two games against Zimbabwe and Uganda respectively.
Chansa rose to the occasion to score the only goal against rivals Brave Warriors while Katongo secured Zambia’s passage to the last eight with a goal against Uganda and the two look set to maintain their momentum against Mali.
Both Lwandamina and Katongo have said it would be prudent for the Chipolopolo to complete the preliminary run without dropping a match and until the final whistle today, Zambia is primed to keep their slate clean.
Group D winners have been drawn to face runners up of Group C. Currently Nigeria lead the group with four points, two ahead of Guinea and Tunisia and Zambia is aiming for a win in a bid of avoiding meeting Nigeria.
Meanwhile soccer fans have been urged to turn out in large numbers in Kigali on Sunday to cheer the Chipolopolo in their quarter final match against their next opponent.
Chipolopolo Soccer Fans Association (CSFA) chairman Yotham Mwanza said it was important that as many fans as possible travel to Kigali to provide the necessary support to the team as it aims at qualifying to the next stage.
Catherine fine- tunes in Mexico
Zambia’s sensational boxer Catherine Phiri finally arrived in Mexico yesterday ahead of Saturday’s World Boxing Council (WBC) women bantamweight gold title fight against defending champion Yazmin Rivas.
Oriental Quarries Boxing promotions (OQBP) operations manager Christopher Malunga confirmed the arrival adding that they touched down at about 23: 00 hours Mexican time in Tijuana town.
Catherine’s fight is scheduled for January 30 during the 2nd WBC female convention and is the main event on the agenda.
Malunga said he was happy that the boxer had finally arrived for the important fight after spending two days stuck in Johannesburg owing to bad weather conditions in New York.
South African Airways were forced to cancel flights into New York as the USA battled adverse weather conditions across the country with thousands of flights cancelled in several major cities including Washington.
Malunga said Catherine and her Coach Mike Zulu were expected to kick start their final training sessions ahead of the ten round bout.
Catherine has promised to fly back home with the belt adding that fighting the champion at her home ground would not intimidate her.
“We are lodging at Grand Joanna hotel and we are impressed with the facilities such as the gym and restaurant. The reception from the fight organisers is over whelming,” he said.
He said he was impressed with the way Catherine handled the flight setbacks without panic and more confident.
“I still believe the flight setback will not have a negative impact on Catherine on Saturday. She handled the challenge well and used light training to focus on the fight. She will start serious training in the morning,” he said.
Malunga said he was confident that Catherine will grab the title and set a bench mark for women boxers in Africa. He said Catherine was aiming to prove that Africa has good female boxers and only sponsorship was a challenge.
“She is not just representing Zambia but Africa as well. I am expecting a tough fight but will definitely carry the day. Coach Mike Zulu has worked on Catherine’s endurance levels to ensure she keeps strong till the last round,” he said.
Catherine was stuck in Johannesburg for two days after the South African Airways flight could not take off last Friday due to bad weather.