Zambia Chipolopolo will try to make yet another good start in the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020 as they did in Morocco 2018.
Three years ago, Zambia opened their CHAN campaign with a 3-1 win over Uganda. This time they will kick off their Group D campaign against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars in the coastal city of Limbe on Tuesday (19 January 2021).
Coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has made it clear that a good start in such a competition is very paramount to help boost the confidence and motivation of his players.
But Micho admits the group is very tough, and every game will certainly be handled cautiously with the smaller key details being very important to help win the match.
“We respect Tanzania because they have a strong League and most of their players come from Simba SC who qualified for the CAF Champions League group stage. But we are ready to face them,” says Sredojevic.
Micho is having his third CHAN appearance, after leading Uganda at the 2014 and 2016 Editions. “It’s a special honour and absolute pleasure to be part of this tournament for the third time,” he added.
Fackson Kapumba, who scored in the opening 3-1 win against Uganda in 2018, is re-appearing for Zambia in CHAN alongside Friday Samu and goalkeeper Allan Chibwe.
On the contrary is Etienne Ndayiragije who will be making his CHAN debut. The Burundian coach of Tanzania said he also respects Zambia, but his team has what it takes to cause surprises in the tournament.
“I am not worried about our opponents because I know a lot about Zambian players since I follow their league, and I also know Sredojevic’s approach,” said the Taifa Stars coach.
Although Tanzania will miss key striker John Raphael Bocco who is yet to shake off an injury he sustained while featuring for his club Simba in the CAF Champions League, Ndayiragije says he has other players who can do the job.
Taifa Stars look to the influence of key senior players Shomari Salum, Erasto Edward Nyoni and goalkeeper Aishi Salum Manula.
“My team is a new generation with many younger players who are ready to fight and defend the national team,” added the coach.
In 2009 the two sides faced-off at the CHAN maiden tournament in Cote d’Ivoire in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw.