ZAMBIA yesterday concluded her CHAN 2016 Group D matches without conceding a goal in the preliminary round after they were held to a 0-0 draw by hard fighting Mali at Nyamirambo stadium.
The draw was however enough to see the Chipolopolo increase their points tally to seven to maintain her grip on the top slot of the log while Mali moved to five points as runners up.
Zambia will face Guinea who finished as runners up to Tunisia in Group C in the semifinals of the championship on Sunday.
With few flashes from both sides, it was Mali however who showed their desire for goals as they produced wonderful in roads forcing the Chipolopolo to drop back and defend but their poor finishing failed to produce any goals.
Chipolopolo Coach George Lwandamina lived up to his words and fielded a strong team with Captain Katongo commanding the tempo of play on the pitch that saw the Chipolopolo win 51 percent of ball possession in the first half.
With the draw, Lwandamina has walked his talk about Zambia being at the CHAN 2016 with clear objectives which have been relevant in every game the team has played beating Zimbabwe and Uganda 1-0 each and maintaining an unbeaten record by denying Mali the luxury of scoring.
“We came here with certain objectives to be attained. One was to build a much stronger side for other assignments like AFCON and the World Cup and secondly to expose as many players as we possibly can and lastly to protect our football integrity.
We have maximized our points by fielding the best players against Mali and we shall progress match after match to the end of the tournament,” Lwandamina told a pre-match briefing.
The second half was no different from the first as the boys toyed with the ball with precise passes but managing to break through once in a while but never had any opportunity to hit the back of the net.
Lwandamina who had the luxury of substituting Captain Katongo hailed his boys positive attitude saying with such a spirit as was obtaining in the Chipolopolo camp, it would be very difficult for any team to stop Zambia.
And Uganda failed in their last gasp to beat Zimbabwe and headed home together with the Brave Warriors who bowed out without winning any match.
Meanwhile The Zambian players were earlier in the day in a mourning mood after news that one of their team physio Gibson Chaloba’s mother had passed away at UTH in Lusaka.
FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya expressed his profound grief and sadness and on behalf of the Football Association of Zambia.
“We are all saddened with this news. We pray that God strengthens the family in this period of sorrow. We offer our sincere condolences to Chaloba and the whole family, “Kalusha said.
Chaloba returned home for the funeral. The Chipolopolo medical team will now be with Dr Joseph Kabungo and physio Davies Mulenga.