Augustine Kabaso Mulenga of Zambia during the 2018 CHAN football game between Ivory Coast and Zambia at the Grand stade Marrakech in Marrakech, Morocco on 18 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Saturday Jan 20, 2018. 15:34
The winners of Group B at the 2018 African Nations Championship will be decided in the match between Zambia and Namibia at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Monday evening, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.
Both teams have already secured progression into the quarterfinals thanks to earlier wins over Ivory Coast and Uganda - it is now simply a matter of deciding who finishes top and has the advantage of avoiding the Group A winners (likely to be hosts Morocco) in the next round.
The Brave Warriors have relied on their superbly organised defence to be the foundation of their success, before snatching injury-time goals against both Ivory Coast and Uganda in successive smash-and-grab 1-0 wins.
Yet coach Ricardo Mannetti insists that his side is capable of more than one style of play and hinted that they may take a more adventurous approach against Zambia.
“Now that there's less pressure, we will decide which [approach] will work best for us,” he explained after the victory over the Cranes.
“If we lose against Zambia we could get Morocco [who are top of Group A], or if we win we might get Sudan [who lie second in Group A]. Both those teams will have styles we need to adapt to. One thing is for sure, you will see some changes in our approach depending on which team we face after that.”
Chipolopolo currently top the pool on goal difference ahead of their fellow Southern Africans and need only avoid defeat to ensure they finish in first place. However, striker Augustine Mulenga - who netted both goals in Zambia’s 2-0 win over Ivory Coast on Thursday - insists they want a full haul of nine points.
“It was not an easy game. We fought and congrats to my colleagues for a good job done,” the Zanaco attacker explained. “We have achieved what we wanted [qualifying for the final eight]. Our target is one game at a time and the maximum point from each game. We are looking forward to topping the group.”
The other Group B match on Monday evening will be played simultaneously at the Marrakech Stadium and sees the Elephants take on the Cranes in a battle to avoid the ‘wooden spoon’.