STEPHEN PHIRI, Ndola
ZAMBIA played all the football but grounded a goalless draw with Guinea Bissau in the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
All the four teams in Group E have a point apiece after Congo Brazzaville and Kenya drew 1-1 on Sunday.
Zambia face Kenya in Nairobi on September 5 while Guinea Bissau host Congo.
The fans among, them Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula, Minister of Home Affairs Davies Mwila, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Ronald Chitotela, State House Deputy Minister Mulenga Sata, Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge and his North-Western Province counterpart Dawson Kafwaya thronged the 40,100 capacity stadium to cheer the Chipolopolo but goals were nowhere near.
Kennedy Mweene 6/10: Mweene was on holiday throughout the match and when Zambia were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, he stepped forward to take responsibility. Mweene, a good penalty taker, however shot straight at his opposite number Jonas Mendes.
Kabaso Chongo 6/10: Chongo was full of running helping in attack. When he lost the ball, he retreated quickly to thwart the danger. He, however, should improve on his crosses.
Emmanuel Mbola 6/10: Mbola is good at attacking but his crosses leave much to be desired.
Christopher Munthali 8/10: He partnered well with Aaron Katebe but the defence was not tested.
Aaron Katebe 9/10: The Zimbabwe-based defender was a marvel to watch. With defence kingpin Stopilla Sunzu injured, Katebe was given the responsibility to marshal the backline. He won all the aerial balls and other one-on-one contests. He was just about the best player to watch on the day.
Kondwani Mtonga 7/10: Mtonga was composed, winning balls in midfield and ensuring the defence was not exposed.
Allan Mukuka 6/10: Until his substitution, Mukuka was the best player, making inroads into the opposition half with his dazzling runs.
That he was removed may have surprised many but his replacement, Lubambo Musonda, was a worthy of the place.
Nathan Sinkala 6/10: Sinkala is still lacking fitness after recovering from a knee injury he sustained at the 2015 Equatorial Guinea Africa Cup of Nations finals.Â With time, the TP Mazembe midfielder could regain the form that saw Zambia win the continental trophy in 2012.
Patson Daka 6/10: Daka has been active this year featuring for the under-17, 20, 23 and senior national teams.Â The 17-year-old Nchanga Rangers forward tried all he could but the West Africans seemed to have read his manual. He was later replaced by Fwayo Tembo.
Given Singuluma 5/10: Singuluma was not in the game and it was not surprising when he was withdrawn for Chisamba Lungu in the 58th minute.
Rainford Kalaba 8/10: Each time his teammates were in attack, Kalaba was first option. He seemed to have been the focal point as all players looked out for him when Zambia were in attack. No wonder he is called Master in the Chipolopolo setup. He squandered three scoring opportunities.
Lusambo Musonda 6/10: Musonda is fearless and took on Guinea Bissau defenders. He should have started ahead of Singuluma.
Chisamba Lungu 5/10: The Russia-based midfielder took to the pitch in the 58th minute, replacing Singuluma but his showboating did little to help the teamâ€™s cause despite him having massive fan support. Fwayo Tembo 6/10: Fwayo tormented the West Africans after replacing Daka and was involved in most of the attacks.
Lwandamina 7/10: The team looked well-trained and had some idirection but tactically, the Chipolopolo were lacking. There was no need to play two defensive midfielders against a team that was never willing to attack.
The team did not have an out-and-out point-man as Daka, though promising, was evidently inadequate. In a game where so many chances are created, you need a great finisher but for once. Lwandamina seemed to have forgotten about the presence of the countryâ€™s best striker at the moment – Ronald Kampamba.
Thatâ€™s the guy you need in the box to do the damage and if he was on the pitch, there would have been no need, possibly, for Mweene to traverse the field to take the penalty. He was a worthy alternative and his conversion rate is 90 percent.
STEPHEN PHIRI, Ndola