Konan Raoul Thierry of Ivory Coast challenged by Hendrik Somaeb of Namibia during the 2018 CHAN football game between Ivory Coast and Namibia at the Grand Stadium in Marrakech, Morocco on 14 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Tuesday Jan 16, 2018. 12:30
Ivory Coast will look to bring themselves back into quarterfinal contention at the 2018 African Nations Championship when they take on Zambia in Marrakech on Thursday, kick-off at 18h30 CAT.
The Elephants suffered a surprise defeat in their Group B opener this past weekend, going down 1-0 against Namibia. The loss was a bitter blow to the West African heavyweights, who conceded the decisive goal to Vetunuavi Hambira in injury time at the end of the game.
Zambia, meanwhile, showed their class with a 3-1 win over Uganda to go to the top of the standings: Lazarous Kambole, Augustine Mulenga and Fackson Kapumbu netted for Chipolopolo.
In response to the opening loss, Ivory Coast coach Ibrahim Kamara is hopeful that his players learned their lessons and will put up an improved showing against Zambia on Thursday.
“We came with the intention of scoring very quickly. But faced with a very well-organised team, it was necessary to regroup to try to take advantage of the flaws,” said Kamara.
“Unfortunately we took a goal in the last minutes. We are going to shoot the lessons for better performance in the future.
"We'll have to roll up the sleeves to address the other meetings. We still have days ahead of us to work.
“We will have to be much more incisive and faster. I think the keys to the next matches are there,” he concluded.
Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda, meanwhile, insists his side won’t slip into complacency after their impressive win over the Cranes.
"We won't relax. We still have games to play against Namibia and Ivory Coast. The race is still open so we can't go to sleep. Even Uganda can still qualify despite them losing the first game," said Nyirenda.
He added, “For us, it is good that we have won the first game, because a positive result gives us impetus to do well in our next match.”
The other Group B match will take place later the same day in Marrakech and sees Uganda take on Namibia.