Wednesday Jun 09, 2021. 14:00
Chipolopolo Zambia coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic believes he is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after his team made a modest recovery on Tuesday to finish 2-2 away against Benin on the pneultaime leg of a three-match friendly tour.
Zambia rallied against hosts Benin to take a two-one halftime lead only to squander it late in the second half to leave Cotonou with a draw.
The result came four days after Zambia suffered a humbling 3-1 away to 2019 AFCON runners-up Senegal on June 5 in Thies.
“I need to give credit to my colleague coach Michel (Dussuyer), his teams wherever he has been have always been competitive and hard to play against,” Micho said.
“So when you have that in mind, we have had an inspirational time playing Senegal and Benin.
“I also need to tell you that several of our first team starters are not around and we wanted to widen the pool of the players that will help us in our World Cup qualifiers in September.”
“We had a good game and as I told the coach after the game, this match is worth more than 30 training sessions in my personal opinion.
“As a player you cannot hide here. It was a realistic competitive situation that gives and teaches you so many lessons about who can and who cannot play.”
Zambia’s defence on the tour continues to be a source of concern with Micho again settling for the same back three of Benedict Chepeshi, Tandi Mwape and Prosper Chiluya who have now conceded five goals in two matches thanks the limited depth the Serb has carried on his June expedition.
Interestingly, all of Zambia’s three goals have come from defensive players.
Kabwe Warriors defender Dominic Chanda scored against Senegal while TP Mazembe’s Tandi Mwape and Salulani Phiri of Polokwane City found the target against Benin.
Salulani equalized in the 19th minute after Cebio Soukou had put Benin ahead in the 12th minute.
Mwape then bundled in a Prince Mumba rebound on the stroke of halftime.
But ten minutes before fulltime, Yohan Roche restored parity in similar fashion after Chibwe had made successive saves in the midst of a goal-mouth scrum.
Overall the Polokwane City goalkeeper was by far Zambia’s best player on the day.
“So, I am very happy with what we have put in whatever was wrong we need to correct whatever was right we want to keep it up,” Micho said.
“I believe the Benin match has helped us grow up as a group and as a unit.”
Chipolopolo now head to Omdurman for one last assessment against nemesis Sudan on June 11 in the two teams’ first meeting since Zambia lost 1-0 in the 2018 CHAN quarterfinals in Morocco.