1 June 2018

Namibia/Zambia: Brave Warriors Take On New-Look Zambia

A new-look Zambia team under a new coach will take on Namibia in their Cosafa Cup quarterfinal clash at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday afternoon.

Zambia's former assistant coach Beston Chambeshi was appointed head coach barely three weeks ago after former coach Wedson Nyirenda stepped down from the post.

Only three players remain from their squad which lost 3-1 to Zimbabwe in last year's final, while only seven players in the squad are regular players for the Chipolopolo.

Despite their relative inexperience, it is a strong team which will provide a tough test for the Brave Warriors.

In recent years Zambia has been very successful at under 20 level under the guidance of Chambeshi.

In 2016 they won the u20 Cosafa Cup title, and last year added the u20 Africa Cup, after beating Senegal 2-0 in the final. At last year's u20 World Cup in South Korea, Zambia reached the quarterfinal stage for the first time in their history before losing 3-2 to Italy.

Regular national defender Ziyo Tembo will captain the team while the other established national players include goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata, midfielders Jackson Chirwa, Clatous Chama and John Ching'andu, and strikers Lazarous Kambole and Ronald Kampamba.

The squad includes one under 20 player who helped Zambia win the u20 Africa Cup last year when they beat Senegal 2-0 in the final in defender Shemmy Mayembe, while another defender, Ngosa Sunzu, joined the team at the u20 World Cup where they reached the quarterfinals.

The three players remaining from last year's Cosafa Cup squad are midfielders Collins Sikombe and Jackson Chirwa and defender Isaac Shamujompa, while the only new cap in the squad is striker Emmanuel Chabula.

The squad also includes four players from league champions Zesco United, who are currently competing in the African Champions League in defenders Shemmy Mayembe and Bournwell Silengo, midfielder John Ching'andu and striker Lazarous Kambole.

Zambia are one of the most successful teams in the history of the Cosafa Cup, having won the title four times and finishing as runners-up on five occasions, but in recent years their success has been limited.

Besides finishing as runners-up to Zimbabwe last year, their last title came in 2013 when they beat Zimbabwe 2-0 in the final,

In recent years Namibia has held the upper hand against Zambia, having won four, drawn one and lost one match since 2015.

In 2015 Namibia beat Zambia 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarterfinals, on their way to clinching the Cosafa Cup title for the first time.

In 2016 Namibia once again beat Zambia in the quarterfinals through a solitary goal by captain Ronald Ketjijere, while their most recent encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at the Chan finals in Morocco in January this year.

Absalom Iimbondi gave Namibia an early lead with a long range free kick, but Lazarous Kambole equalised for Zambia with a great shot midway through the first half.

Chambeshi said they respected Namibia, but that his side also demanded respect.

"Namibia has been a stubborn team against us ever since we started playing against them. They have grown so we have to respect them, but they should respect us too, because Zambia is not a small team in terms of football," he said.

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti, meanwhile, said Saturday's encounter was a very important match for his side.

"Obviously we want to win the tournament, but for now we are just focussing on Zambia. Beating them would mean that we are in the semifinals and it will also mean that we continue the psychological superiority that we have over them, which will be especially advantageous going into the Afcon qualifiers when we meet Zambia again in September.

"So this is much more important than just a quarterfinal match at Cosafa - it goes a long way in terms of our qualifiers and the psychological edge, so it's a very important game for Namibia," he said.

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