Zambia chase a one hundred percent run at the ongoing CAF African Nations Championships (CHAN) on Wednesday when they face Mali in their final Group D match in Kigali.
George Lwandamina’s team has already qualified for the quarterfinals with a match to spare leading Group D on 6 points, two more than second placed Mali who need a draw to join Zambia in the last eight on January 31.
Depending on their final top two status after Wednesdays result, Zambia will face either Tunisia or Guinea in the last eight who finished first and second tied on 5 points each after 5-0 and 1-0 final Group C wins over Niger (1 point) and Nigeria (4 points) receptively in their simultaneous kickoffs on Tuesday.
“If we maintain our momentum, it will give us more confidence ahead of the quarterfinals,”Lwandamina said.
Zambia head into the clash against Mali unbeaten against their West African opponents from four previous meetings.
Chipolopolo have picked up two victories and as many draws against Mali.
In the two sides’ last encounter, Zambia beat Mali 2-1 on June 18, 2005 in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier played at Konkola Stadium in Chililabombwe.
Meanwhile, Zambia will be without Zanaco midfielder Salulani Phiri who suffered a hip injury on January 23 in the 1-0 win over Uganda and so Benson Sakala of Power Dynamos could start in his place after replacing him in the first half of that match.
In defence, Buchizya Mfune faces stiff competition to reclaim his place following his recovery from a throat infection after Power’s Christopher Munthali’s outstanding display against Uganda during the Green Buffaloes players’ absence.