ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
SWAZILAND coach Pieter de Jongh is targeting a double over Zambia in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) first round.
Swaziland host Zambia at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday with the return leg in Lusaka after a week.
De Jongh said in an interview from Mbabane yesterday that it is only through beating Zambia that Swaziland will stand a chance of qualifying for the finals.
In 2009, Swaziland beat Zambia 1-0 at home but fell 3-0 in the return leg in Lusaka.
Zambia went on to finish third at the inaugural tournament in Ivory Coast.
De Jongh is counting on home ground advantage to take a comfortable lead into the return leg.
“We are targeting winning both home and away. This way we will qualify to the next round. It looks difficult but at the same time possible and what is important is self-belief,” he said.
He however said the game will be tough.
“We have to up our game to win Sunday’s match but we are ready for them [Zambia].
“Look, in COSAFA tournament, we didn’t have 12 experienced players but I think the performance of the team was still fairly good. We created some chances and our focus was much better. Zambia will be difficult opponents,” de Jongh said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Sports Fans Association (ZASPOFA) patron Peter Makembo has urged Chipolopolo coach Wedson Nyirenda to unleash his best arsenal on Swaziland in a bid to get victory and ease pressure in the return leg, STEPHEN PHIRI reports.
Makembo said in Lusaka yesterday that beating Swaziland is a must. He said victory over Swaziland will see Zambia putting one foot in the second round.
“We need to beat Swaziland in front of their fans and come and finish the job in Lusaka. We trust Wedson and we also believe in his philosophy,” Makembo said.
He said ZASPOFA members are putting logistics in place to make the trip to Swaziland.
Makembo said having the 12th player will motivate Chipolopolo players to give their best on the pitch.
Zambia are chasing for their third appearance at the CHAN finals after bagging bronze at the inaugural tournament in Ivory Coast in 2009 and reaching the quarter-finals last year in Rwanda.