VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka
NO MATTER what happens over the two legs 2018 Kenya African Nations Championship (CHAN) final round clash between nemesis
Zambia and South Africa, something will change.
It is the record which currently stands even in terms of wins and draws in both competitive and international friendlies.
Zambia and South Africa have played each other 20 times since 1992 when the latter were admitted to the FIFA family.
The teams met for the first time on August 30, 1992 when Zambia beat South Africa 1-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Johannesburg.
Timothy Mwitwa scored Zambia’s solitary goal.
Mwitwa and 17 other players and 12 officials died in the 1993 Gabon air crash when the Zambia Air Force Buffalo plane they were travelling in plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
The team was on its way to Dakar for a 1994 United States of America World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
Zambia bashed South Africa 3-0 in the return leg at Independence Stadium in Lusaka in July 1993.
Aggrey Chiyangi, Linos Makwaza and Kalusha Bwalya contributed a goal apiece in front of a huge crowd.
Notable matches between the nations include the 1998 France FIFA World Cup qualifier, which Bafana Bafana won 3-0 in Johannesburg to make their maiden appearance at the global event.
The victory on June 8, 1997 at FNB Stadium stunned then Chipolopolo coach George Mungwa, who was famed for champagne football.
Zambia featured the likes of 1988 African-footballer-of-the-year Kalusha Bwalya, Dabid Chilufya, Kenneth ‘Bubble’ Malitoli, Elijah Litana, Harrison Chongo and Davies Phiri, among others, while Bafana Bafana had Andre Arendse, Philemon Masinga, Neil Torvey, Mark Fish, Mark Williams and John Moshoeu.
Bafana Bafana held Zambia to a goalless draw in the first leg on January 11, 1997 in Lusaka.
Zambia has triumphed eight times same so are Bafana Bafana and four meetings have ended in stalemates, such is the rivalry between the two southern Africa nations whose relationship dates back to the apartheid era.
South Africa’s ruling party – Africa Nations Congress – had its headquarters in Lusaka.
Football fans in South Africa consider Zambia to be their main football rivals in the region and care more about this rivalry than those with other countries such as Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Zambia beat Bafana Bafana 1-0 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge on November 14, 2012 in Johannesburg, courtesy of goalpoacher Collins Mbesuma’s thunderbolt from outside the box.
Mbesuma benefitted from Mukuka Mulenga’s pass.
The win came nine months after Frenchman Herve Renard guided the Chipolopolo to a maiden Africa Cup triumph in Gabon.
Zambia stunned Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties after a goalless draw in regulation time.
The teams have met twice in the World Cup and six times in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
South Africa and Zambia have won the Africa Cup once apiece in 1996 and 2012, respectively.
Zambia and South Africa have also clashed seven times in international friendlies and three in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup.
Zambia has dominated South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers boasting of four wins among them the 3-1 win in Cape Town in a 2008 Ghana qualifier.
When it comes to the COSAFA Cup, Zambia has struggled against South Africa registering two defeats and managing one victory.
On the way to winning the fourth COSAFA crown in 2013, Zambia beat South Africa 5-3 on penalties after the semi-final match ended goalless in regulation time in Ndola.
However, South Africa has dominated when it comes to international friendlies grabbing four victories, two losses and one stalemate.
Bafana beat Zambia 1-0 in a friendly in 2015.
But the Chipolopolo won the most recent friendly encounter 2-1 on June 13 in Rustenburg.
Lubinda Mundia and Brian Mwila contributed a goal apiece. Mwila has since trekked to South Africa to join Absa Premiership outfit Platinum Stars.
When it comes to the continent’s second tier competition – the CHAN – the Chipolopolo has never beaten Bafana Bafana.
The rivals have clashed twice.
Zambia and South Africa locked horns in the final round of the 2011 CHAN qualifiers.
It was Bafana Bafana who enjoyed success progressing to the finals in Sudan via a 2-1 aggregate win.
South Africa beat the George Lwandamina-mentored Chipolopolo 1-0 in Johannesburg and battled to a 1-1 draw in the return leg in Lusaka.
Zambia face South Africa in East London tomorrow with the return leg after a week.
Chipolopolo have twice competed at the CHAN finals starting with the inaugural event in 2009 in Ivory Coast where they finished third and the 2016 edition in Rwanda.
Lwandamina made amends for failing to qualify the team for the 2011 edition by guiding the Chipolopolo to the Rwanda finals where the Chipolopolo lost 5-4 on penalties to Guinea after a goalless draw in regulation time in the quarter-finals.
Either Zambia or South Africa will book a ticket to Kenya.