…as President Lungu hails Chipolopolo despite the 2-all draw
By GRACE CHAILE
LESOETSA in Ndola
CAMEROON coach Hugo Broos watched in awe as Zambia reduced his team to minnows in a 2018 World Cup formality qualifier which ended 2-2 at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium yesterday.
Broos later confessed that Cameroon was a no match to Zambia, and that the Chipolopolo Boys deserved to win.
With President Edgar Lungu leading the fans in cheering the national team, the Chipolopolo displayed a good performance which left everyone cheering.
Zambia finished the World Cup Group B campaign in second place with eight points, six points behind Nigeria while the West Africans were third with six points and Algeria three points. The Cameroon defenders had a tough time to keep out Zambia from the eighteen yard as they were a no match to quick footed Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu, Fashion Sakala, Brian Mwila and Augustine Mulenga. Zambia’s sense of adventure grew as the game entered the 20th minute putting Cameroon goalkeeper Ondoa Fabrice under pressure.
Fackson Kapumbu could have opened the scoring for Zambia in 23th minute but his corner kick was saved.
Zambia’s moment of brilliance came in the 25th minute when Sakala dribbled through from the left flank turned inside Patson whose volley shot put Zambia in the lead.
It was a short lived lead as Cameroon equalized five minutes later thanks to Zambo Anguissa close range shot leaving Kennedy Mweene in shock.
The Chipolopolo returned rejuvenated in second half and regained the lead in 64th minute after an interchange of passes from Mwepu and Patson before Mwila registered his name on the score sheet. Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar was a shadow as Stopilla Sunzu and Ziyo Tembo denied him dancing space. Mwepu was substituted for Emmanuel Banda after sustaining an injury while Mwila was replaced by Alex Ng’onga much to the displeasure of fans.
Zambia continued to display brilliant football and looked to be victors of the day until Yaya Banana spoiled the party with an equalizer in 90th minute.
It was a sunrise of a smile on Broos face as the match ended.
Zambia assistant coach Aggrey Chiyangi described the team’s performance as superb noting that Zambia would qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation. “The team displayed excellent football. This game gave the young players the experience needed ahead of AFCON qualifiers next year,” he said.
And Broos said Zambia deserved to win as they commanded 80percent of the match. “We were a no match to the Zambian players. My players couldn’t match up to their speed .,” he said.
Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu says Zambia has a team that can qualify to the 2022 Qatar World Cup if nurtured well.
President Lungu who decided to celebrate his 61st birthday with soccer fans some of whom were allowed free entry was happy with the team’s performance.
“What I saw today is a good receipt of what is to come. Coaches can work together without being emotional and bring the boys up, we will definitely get to Qatar,” Mr Lungu said.
He was not surprised with the 2-2 draw as Zambia was not in contention.
He however hailed the technical bench for building up a team that can compete well.
“We were not in contention but we are building a team which is very important,
President Lungu urged players not to be emotional when left out of the starting line-up.
“What I heard here about some people being unhappy for not being on the starting list is sad. It’s about the coach and football fraternity to determine whose skills are the best to be used in the next game” he advised.