…as Zambia date Mozambique in must-win Futsal AFCON qualifier
By MICHAEL MIYOBA
ZAMBIA’S quest to qualify for the Morocco 2024 TotalEnergies Futsal AFCON faces its final test today when the Andrea Cristoforetti-tutored charges face Mozambique in the second leg of the futsal AFCON qualifier slated for the Automotive Indoor Futsal Arena.
After losing the first leg 3-2 in Maputo last weekend, Zambia will need nothing but a win to qualify for the Futsal AFCON which will feature eight teams in Morocco.
Fortunately for Zambia who managed to score two away goals, a 1-0 win will be enough to qualify ahead of Mozambique who needs a scoreless stalemate to progress.
Zambia national futsal team coach Cristoforetti is confident his boys have what it takes to overcome Mozambique on home soil.
“We regrouped, we analysed the mistakes we made and we haven’t changed much. Meaning we still maintain our identity, our way of playing futsal and we will try to express ourselves at the maximum level,” Cristoforetti said.
“I’m confident in the boys. We have been working hard and we are satisfied with the work we have done,” he said.
And team captain Chota Chileshe said Zambia will fight for a win to qualify for the AFCON which comes every after four years.
“We are ready to play this game because we have prepared very well. We just have to get the three points to qualify for the Futsal AFCON. Looking at the way we have prepared, the mistakes we made in Maputo, we just don’t have to repeat them because we are just remaining with one chance,” Chileshe said.
Meanwhile, Mozambican coach Farukito Patel admitted being under pressure to make the federation, the media and the people of Mozambique proud going into the final leg of the qualifiers.
Pressure comes every time we play but we need to be prepared for anything. We know that every time we face a team there is pressure from the federation, the public and the press but what is important for us is to deliver.
“I have played the qualifiers as a player before and now I’m coach, yes, definitely I want to do best and qualify the team to the AFCON but at the end of the day it is the players who need to do the job, have fun enjoying the game and doing their best,” Patel said.
Mozambique will have to come up with a perfect plan to stop the deadly duo of Chota Chileshe and Michelo Kaampwe who scored the two goals in Maputo while Zambia will have to worry about Taimo Orlando and Agostinho Dos Santos, the duo who gave them a tough time in Maputo.
The winner between the two rivals will join Morocco, Egypt and Angola who earned direct qualification for the 2024 Futsal AFCON as the best top three ranked teams in Africa.