VICTOR KUMWENDA , Lusaka
ZAMBIA today seek to maintain dominance over Mozambique when they clash in the 2016 Rwanda African Nations Championship (CHAN) final round first leg at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Failure to win by a big margin at home could put Zambia in an awkward position ahead of the return leg in Maputo next Saturday.
The best result Mozambique have scored against Zambia is a draw, making todayâ€™s encounter a fierce battle as the Mambas want to prove a point that they can also beat the Chipolopolo.
To reach the last round, Zambia eliminated Namibia 6-5 on penalties after settling for a 3-3 draw on aggregate while Mozambique thumped Seychelles 9-1 over two legs.
The teams have met 17 times with Zambia winning 15 matches while two matches have ended in draws.
The last meeting between the teams was on November 14, 2014 in Maputo, where Given Singulumaâ€™s strike gave Zambia a 1-0 win in the 2015 Equatorial Guinea Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The first leg in Ndola ended goalless.
Zambia have been to the CHAN finals once in 2009 in Ivory Coast, where they finished third, while Mozambique made their maiden appearance at the tournament in 2014 in South Africa, where they were eliminated in the preliminary round.
Chipolopolo coach George Lwandamina was an assistant to Frenchman Herve Renard in 2009 and is now looking forward to making history as coach.
â€œMy expectations on Saturday are high and mine are not different from any Zambian. Our preparations have been working towards maximising on points,â€ Lwandamina said.
He will look to in-form striker Winston Kalengo for a comfortable home win.
Kalengo is the Super Division top-scorer with 15 goals and this speaks volumes of how lethal he is.
The Zesco United star has two goals in the competition and will be looking forward to increasing his tally.
Kalengo will partner Festus Mbewe, who has scored once in the competition.
Mbewe and Kalengo contributed a goal apiece in Zambiaâ€™s 2-1 win over Namibia in the CHAN first round return leg in Lusaka on July 4.
Moses Phiri, Friday Samu and Conlyde Luchanga are other options for goals.
Jackson Chirwa and Salulani Phiri will command play in midfield while Charles Zulu and Kennedy Mudenda will operate on the right and left wing, respectively.
Benedict Chepeshi, Boyd Mkandawire, Christopher Munthali and Buchizya Mfune will form the rearguard shielding goalkeeper Jacob Banda.
Mozambique coach Helder â€˜Mano Manoâ€™ Muianga is aiming for an upset.
â€œWe know what we want to do [beating Zambia]. We also know how we want to play. Zambia is among the best teams in Africa, so they are the ones who are under pressure,â€ Muianga said.
Mozambique will rely on forwards Isaac and Luis Miquissone and midfielder Reinildo for victory.
VICTOR KUMWENDA , Lusaka