ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
COACH Wedson Nyirenda will today target the seventh win when Zambia take on Ethiopia in an international friendly at Woodlands
Stadium in Lusaka.
Since his appointment last September, Nyirenda has managed six wins, four losses and three draws.
Today, the 50-year old will seek victory ahead of next Saturday’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) second round first leg against South Africa in East London.
Zambia and Ethiopia will clash for the 14th time.
Zambia have won six, Ethiopia has triumphed on four occasions and three matches have ended in draws.
The last time the teams met was on June 7, 2015 in Addis Ababa and Zambia won 1-0 courtesy of Allan Mukuka’s strike.
“This is a very important game for us and we are taking it seriously. Games like these are good because they help build cohesion in the team. Otherwise we are all ready,” Nyirenda said.
He has to do without the services of goal-poacher Brian Mwila, who has signed a two-year deal with South African top side Platinum Stars.
Mwila, formerly of Green Buffaloes, has scored five times in six appearances for the Chipolopolo.
He netted twice as Zambia battered Swaziland 7-0 on aggregate in the CHAN first round.
Nyirenda will partner forward Justin Shonga with Martin Phiri of Power Dynamos.
Shonga has scored four goals in the last four matches for the national team and holds the key for success in today’s match.
Lubinda Mundia and Davey Daka are other options in attack.
The Zanaco pair of Ernest Mbewe and Augustine Mulenga will be doing the running on the right and left wings, respectively.
Kondwani Mtonga and Jackson Chirwa will protect the defence in a 4:4:2 formation.
But Ethiopia coach Ashenafi Bekele will rely on veteran Getaneh Kebede to stun Zambia.
Kabede is no stranger to Zambia as he was part of the squad that drew 1-1 with the Chipolopolo in a Group C match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
He was also in the team that lost 1-0 to Zambia two years ago.
Simon Silwimba, Fackson Kapumbu, Isaac Shamujompa and Ziyo Tembo must be alert to keep at bay Kabede, Addis Gidey and Samuel Saliso.
Toaster Nsabata is a sure starter in goal.
“We know Zambia is one of the strongest teams in Africa. We will do our best to win the match because a win is what we want,” Bekele said.
On the FIFA rankings, Zambia are 92nd and Ethiopia are 136th.