…Chipolopolo still has the mantle to top Group E, says Lwandamina
ZAMBIA national soccer team coach George Lwandamina says the Chipolopolo Boys still has the mantle to top Group E 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers despite drawing against Congo Brazzaville in Sunday’s match played at the New Kintele Stadium.
Zambia on Sunday failed to beat a resolute Congo side which was bubbling with confidence after registering an all-important 1-all draw at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Wednesday last week.
But Lwandamina said there were ample chances of topping the group and subsequently qualifying for the 2017 show-piece.
He was convinced Chipolopolo Boys would find the winning formula when they locked horns with current log leaders Guinea-Bissau.
The soft-spoken trainer said not all hope was lost following the draw, describing the outcome of the game as good because it meant that his objective of qualifying the team to the final tournament was still intact.
“We are still being driven by our objective to qualify. We still have two games to play and the beauty of it is that we still have to play Guinea Bissau who now lead the group and we also have to play Kenya.
“I am sure we shall be able to collect maximum points from those two matches and finish top of the group,” Lwandamina said.
It was Winston Kalengo who redeemed the Chipolopolo when all seemed lost when he benefitted from a Rainford Kalaba tee and scored with a glancing header which hit the inside of the upright before crossing the line in the 72nd minute to cancel out the hosts’ lead which came soon after the restart. The draw however has relegated Zambia to the third spot on the ladder by a slender goal difference though they are joint on six points together with their nemesis who have moved to second after Guinea-Bissau won away in Kenya on the same evening.
Guinea Bissau defeated Kenya 1 – 0 in Nairobi at the Nyayo national stadium in an ill-tempered match that saw teargas canisters thrown on the pitch after the visitors took what the hosts considered a dubious lead, forcing the game to be abandoned temporally until calm returned.
Zambia have a mountain to climb against Guinea-Bissau on June 3 when they travel to West Africa while another tricky encounter awaits them when they host Kenya in the final group match in September.
The group winner will join hosts Gabon, 12 other winners and two best overall runners-up for the final tournament which will be hosted by Gabon.