Chad left Zambia laughing all the way back to N’djamena today after collecting their first point in Group 11 to leave Zambia’s chances of taking their Africa Cup qualifying pool qualifier to the wire.
Zambia started off very casually as Chad took the game to their hosts.
Chad took the deserved lead in the 18th minute through Hillaire Kedgui leaving the hosts and the Konkola crowd stunned.
However, Zambia did have a good chance just eight minutes before Chad took the lead.
In that instance, Collins Mbesuma attempt with the spectacular via a bicycle-kick courtesy of a Jacob Mulenga cross went horribly wrong when the formers best effort at that was an air-shot at point-blank range.
The goal meanwhile was certainly a wake-up call for Zambia who until then not troubled Chad’s defence.
Felix Katongo had a low drive in the 24th minute cleared off the line while Mulenga’s flying header three minutes later flew inches wide.
Moreover, Chad goalkeeper Amel Koulara was too good as he denied chances by the hosts attackers with Felix Katongo’s 41st minute stunning effort the highlight of the saved shots.
Dead on 45 minutes, Mulenga rasping shot was parried by Koulara as Rainford Kalaba blasted the rebound high and over.
The first signs of the equalizer came on 48 minutes when Christopher Katongo playing a deeper role in midfield reminiscent of his Green Buffaloes days saw his attempt in a one-on-one with the outstanding Koulara gathered.
On the 55 minutes, relief arrived. Finally.
Zesco United defender Willy Chinyama’s drive was too hot for Koulara to hold and this time Mbesuma’s goal instincts didn’t desert him to poke-in the ball to level scores.
The wind was then taken out of Zambia’s sails just before the hour-mark when Mulenga was taken off injured.
Mulenga’s departure left Zambia without the decisive the robust pace they badly needed.
It got worse after Felix Katongo’s departure too due to a knock seven minutes later living the hosts as mare pedestrians while Mbesuma turned into a modest showboater.
Zambia too refused to use the vast space they created in front of goal while bearing down on Chad choosing instead to go the naive route for width that came to nothing and were easily telegraph by Chad.
Furthermore, Zambia had only two convincing chances after the hour-mark with Kalaba’s 78th minute free kick going inches high while Christopher Katongo’s 90th minute shot saved.
And now after Zambia’s wasteful show the waiting game for tomorrow afternoons Congo-Brazzaville- South Africa result beckons.
Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Clive Hachilensa, Billy Mwanza, Kennedy Nkethani, Willy Chinyama, Rainford Kalaba, James Chamanga, Felx Katongo (Clifford Mulenga, Ignatius Lwipa), Christopher Katongo, Jacob Mulenga (Songwe Chalwe), Collins Mbesuma.
Subs: George Kolala, Dube Phiri, Hichani Himoonde, Lameck Njovu.
Coach: Patrick Phiri.
Chad: Amel Koulara, Nerambay, Esai Djikoloum, Hillaire Kedgui, Ndoassel,Marius Mbaiam(Brahim Ahmat), Armand Djerabe, Cesar Madalngue, Abdoulaye Djideo, Tigaye Masrabaye, Stiamadji Allarassem.
Subs: Mamadou Bouba, Leger Djimena, David Mbaihouloum,Betlnger Nisdongar,Mahamai Doungous.
Coach: Mahamai Adoum.
Referee: Muhamed Ssegonga (Uganda)