19 January 2013

Zambia/South Africa: Chipolopolo Relax Ahead of Storm

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
After a number of thwarted chances at goal, Ethiopian striker Saladin Said supplied the ball which enabled Adane Girma to score Ethiopia's first goal at the Cup of Nations in 30 years.

CHAMPIONS Zambia were yesterday in a relaxed mode as the Chipolopolo stars took some time off in the morning to recharge before wrapping up the final tune-up for the Orange 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off in South Africa this evening.

The players relaxed by the swimming pool at Protea Hotel in Nelspruit before proceeding to do their AFCON accreditations.

Later, the Chipolopolo drove into Nelspruit's central district to sight-see and stretch their legs before returning to Ka Nyamazane Stadium for an evening training session.

Earlier, a Confederation of African Football delegation visited the AFCON title holders at their base to formally welcome them to the 2013 edition.

Skipper Christopher Katongo said Zambia had enjoyed a successful training camp for the AFCON and that they would take each game as it comes without underrating or fearing any opponent.

Katongo told fazfootball.com that the Chipolopolo were ready for the battle and that every player was focused on the assignment.

"We are ready. We are relaxed and we have no pressure. We have been at this level before and we know that every game is tough. But we have prepared well and have been enjoying ourselves in every training session.

"We will be ready for any team and we won't say this is a big team or this is a small team. We will play according to the instructions of the coach. We have no pressure; we're just going to do our job," he said.

Striker Collins Mbesuma added: "We have the same unity, determination and desire to do well."

Zambia opens the title defence against Ethiopia in a Group C tie on Monday before tackling Nigeria on January 25 and wind up with Burkina Faso four days later.

Zambia will play all her group matches at Mbombela Stadium with the possibility of staying on at the same venue for the knock-out rounds should Chipolopolo win her group.

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