By MICHAEL MIYOBA
AFTER failing to win any match from the last two friendly fixtures played in West Africa, the Chipolopolo will target to impress when they face Sudan in today’s unofficial friendly fixture at Al-Hilla Stadium in Khartoum.
Chipolopolo coach Millutin “Micho” Sredojevic is under-pressure to perform despite the games being just a friendly following the team’s poor showing in the first two games against Senegal and Benin.
Zambia kicked off its international window friendly matches with a 3-1 loss to Senegal in Thies before drawing 2-2 with Benin in Cotonou, the two matches which “Micho” said presented a lot of lessons for the team preparing for the World Cup qualifiers in September.
“Benin was a realistic competitive nation which gave us and taught us so much lessons on who can and who can’t.
“I’m happy with everyone. What went wrong, we need to correct and what was right we need to keep it up so that in September when we play against Mauritania and Tunisia in the World Cup qualifiers, we will be prepared in the best way,” said “Micho” after the draw against Benin.
The Chipolopolo who arrived in Khartoum yesterday after having left Cotonou on Wednesday morning, have been criticised for their poor showing in the last two friendly matches and will need victory when they face Sudan.
With some fans already calling for the coach’s head after the disappointing defeat to Senegal and the draw against Benin, the Chipolopolo will seek nothing but a straight win to comfort their disappointed fans who have endured a lot of pain from the team’s disappointing results in the last few games.
Today’s fixture at Al-Hillal Stadium presents the Chipolopolo the chance to avenge their 1-0 defeat suffered on January 27 when the two teams locked horns at the 2018 Championship of African Nations played in Marrakech, Morocco.
From the 22 meetings recorded since 1968, Zambia has beaten Sudan 12 times, losing seven times while three ended in stalemates.
However, from the last five meetings, the two sides boast of a 50 percent winning record of one draw and two wins apiece.
Like in the last two games, “Micho” goes into today’s fixture without the services of his star players Enock Mwepu, Fashion Sakala and Patson Daka who were excused from national team duty to conclude their anticipated transfers to the EPL.
“Micho” has a young squad of local stars such Moses Phiri and Rodger Kola who have been impressive for Zanaco in the MTN Super League.
The Serbian also has five foreign-based stars in his squad, the Polokwane City duo of goal keeper Mweenya Chibwe and Salulani Phiri and the 18-year-old Ntazana Mayembe who plays for Cardif City Under-18 team in Wales.
The Chipolopolo are using the international friendly matches to prepare for the September Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Zambia will be away to Mauritania before hosting Tunisia in the first two rounds of the World Cup qualifiers scheduled to kick off in September.