The Zambians do not consider their back-to-back African Nations Cup qualifiers against Guinea Bissau as pay-back time or looking at the two matches as “revenge” after their opponents had stopped them from qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup tournament in Gabon.
As they prepare to line-up against Guinea Bissau in Ndola this afternoon, Zambia have put their faith on the Orlando Pirates attacking duo of Justine Shonga and Augustine Mulenga to unlock the defence of the visitors in a Group K match.
The Guineans held Zambia to a goalless draw back during 2016 and somewhat pulled off a sensational 3-2 victory in Bissau to qualify for the first time in their history. Yet despite approaching the game with caution, the Zambians are more focussed than anything this time around.
The Guinea Bissau squad, led by Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Tony Silva, arrived in Zambia on Tuesday upbeat about the first of their clashes at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola today while their second tie is scheduled for the Estadio de Septembre venue on Sunday.
Guinean coach Baciro Cande said he stressed to his players that their previous results against Zambia would count for nothing as their opponents now know who they are and are quite aware of their capabilities and would be hell bent on securing a positive result.
Zambia’s Belgian coach Sven Vandenbroeck dropped several players after their hard fought 1-1 draw with Namibia in Windhoek last month, among them Spencer Sautu, Lawrence Mulenga and SuperSport United defender Gampani Lungu, the latter left out due to his limited game time at the Randburg-based team under Kaitano Tembo.
“I left out Gampani Lungu (SuperSport United) because after the camping of Namibia and Gabon he had zero minutes playing time from his club and that is the reason why although both (Spencer and Lungu) gave me a good impression in the first camp, I nonetheless had to choose,” he told The Zambian Times.
“I replaced one goalkeeper Lawrence Mulenga who will be replaced by Charles Muntanga also because of lack of minutes in his club, so Charles deserves to be in the team.”
The Zambian attack would be spearheaded by the Orlando Pirates pair – Augustine Mulenga and Justine Shonga – assisted by certainly the most powerful and electrifying attacker – Patson Daka – with Fashion Sakala as another option.
And while he continues to battle for the number one jersey with Denis Onyango at Mamelodi Sundowns, Kennedy Mweene remains the most reliable and experienced goal-minder for the Chipolopolo and will no doubt be manning the post in the double-header.