Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000
By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
ZAMBIA last night sealed her quarter-final berth at the on-going Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) with a 2-0 win over highly rated Ivory Coast who were reduced to minnows.
A brace from unstoppable Augustine Mulenga in both halves handed the Chipolopolo the much-needed victory in Morocco.
Zambia lead Group B with six points and will face either hosts Morocco or Sudan in the quarter-finals.
It was an almost repeat of 2009 when Zambia beat hosts Ivorians 3-0 with Given Singuluma scoring a brace at the tournament and finished as bronze medailist at the tournament.
The Chipolopolo commanded the game from the first whistle with striker Friday Samu coming close to putting Zambia in the lead in the sixth minute but shot over the bar before the woodwork saved the Elephants from Enerst Mbewe’s header from Mulenga’s cross.
Zambia broke the deadlock two minutes later when Samu dribbled his way from the right flank and released Mulenga whose low shot comfortably landed inside the net.
The brilliant communication between Kondwani Mtonga and Donashano Malama completely cut off the Elephants as Zambia continued to pursue a second goal.
Ivory Coast survived another scare in the 30th minute when Enerst Mbewe failed to bury a free kick from Fackson
The Elephants looked organised in the first 10 minutes of the second half, created a few chances but Ziyo Tembo and his men were equal to the task at the back.
Zambia finally settled down after the 55th minute after the introduction of Mike Katiba for a seemingly tired Samu.
Mulenga completed his brace from Mbewe’s neat pass as he comfortably dribbled his way in the box past three defenders to shoot past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 for Zambia.
Ivory Coast could not believe results on the scoreboard after the final whistle and came to reality that their race may just end in the preliminary round.
Coach Wedson Nyirenda described the performance of the boys as excellent.
Nyirenda said he was fulfilled that the boys achieved the set target of the match, and that was to storm the quarter-finals.
Zambia will face Namibia in their last Group game on