4 September 2017

Africa: Zambia Seek Historic Double Over Algeria

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda believes his team has the character hold their own in Constantine on Tuesday against Algeria in the final leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifier Group B double-header.

Chipolopolo head into the match after a 3-1 home win over 'Les Fennecs' last Saturday in Lusaka that saw them end their four-match losing jinx in World Cup qualifying meetings against the North Africans.

The result also lifted Zambia to second on the ladder with four points, five shy of leaders Nigeria. Algeria has just a point from three games.

"It feels great to win especially against a big team like Algeria. We feel good," Nyirenda said after the win in the Day Three fixture.

And now, Zambia makes an audacious attempt to collect their debut points away in Algeria where they have lost on three previous meetings dating back to 1977.

"It is not going to be an easy game. Algeria will be tough at home; they are a big team and we respect them for that," Nyirenda added.

Better news for the Chipolopolo is they head into the match with no injury worries but will be without Russian-based striker Fashion Sakala of Spartak Moscow, who is suspended for following a red card in the previous fixture last Saturday.

Striker Brian Mwila will also be hoping to add to his first leg brace in a good run after scoring seven goals from eight matches in his debut year with the senior national team.

Expectations are also high on Zambia Under-20 midfielder Enock Mwepu who had a dream debut that he capped with an 88th minute goal against Algeria after coming on as 56th minute substitute to also stamp his authority in the match.

Meanwhile, Zambia's mental and physical temperament will be tested as they prepare to play two games in a space of three days that has been punctuated by a long trip to the north.

"Preparations in such a manner where we have just played a game and then start off and make a long trip to play a game in another two days is tricky.

"Because both teams now tend to not know each other attributes so we have to adjust. And taking into consideration the journey to Constantine, we have to look into the player's recovery period.

"We don't have enough time to do a lot of work. There will be more talking than action. It will not be easy playing against a big team at their home where everyone will be there for them. But I think we have the character to get a win," Nyirenda concluded.

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