Football Sport

Rwanda here we come!

ALEX NJOVU, Machava Stadium, Maputo
ZAMBIA yesterday made a statement on African football when they qualified for the 2016 Rwanda African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals after a 4-1 aggregate victory following a 1-1 draw in the deciding leg against Mozambique.
The team will be making a second appearance at the championship that exclusively showcases African talent, after winning bronze at the biennial championship in Ivory Coast in 2009.
George Lwandamina’s boys had their work well cut in the first leg at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium when they claimed a 3-0 win, making the return leg nothing more than an academic exercise.
Festus Mbewe got onto the scoresheet after 19 minutes and the match went into a flat mode before Mozambique rescued a token of theirs with a penalty late on.
Winston Kalengo crossed and Mbewe outjumped defender Francisco Miocha to place the ball past goalkeeper Jose Guirrugo.
After conceding, Mozambique pushed forward and forced two corners within five minutes but the Christopher Munthali-marshalled defence was tight.
Skipper and goalkeeper Jacob Banda saved Diego Albert’s weak shot in the 31st minute.
On 40 minutes, Donashano Malama made a solo run on the right flank and fed Kalengo, whose header did not trouble Guirrugo.
Zambia coach George Lwandamina introduced Conlyde Luchanga and Spencer Sautu for Mbewe and Mwelwa respectively on 63 minutes and the two youngsters added energy to the attack.
Luchanga and Sautu were on the scoresheet alongside Kalengo in the first leg.
Midfielder Charles Zulu was withdrawn for Moses Phiri in the 70th minute.
Mozambique grabbed the equaliser from a penalty in the 85th minute after Paul Katema handled and skipper Momed Hagy scored.
“We wanted to qualify to the CHAN finals and I am happy that we have qualified,” Lwandamina said.
His Mozambican counterpart Helder Muianga said: “I am disappointed that we have failed to qualify. It is always difficult to play Zambia.”
“Special thanks to the young players for their endurance and contribution to the qualifiers. The CHAN finals will be very exciting,” Chipolopolo skipper Banda said.
Striker Mbewe said: “I am happy that I scored today and contributed two goals in the qualifiers.”
The CHAN finals are set for January 16 to February 7.

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