Zambia overcame a plucky Uganda to win 3-1 and go top of Group B to make a bright start at the 2018 CHAN tournament in Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday.
Chipolopolo shot to the top of Group B on 3 points, tied with Namibia but have a better goal difference over the latter who defeated Cote d’ Ivoire 1-0 in the early kickoff at the same venue.
Uganda are bottom while Cote d’Ivoire are 3rd, both on zero points.
Goals from Lazarus Kambole, Augustine Mulenga and an own goal from Uganda goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan saw Zambia maintain their CHAN tradition of winning their opening tournament games.
It was Zambia’s biggest opening day CHAN victory since their 3-0 win in 2009 over then hosts Cote d’Ivoire.
But it was Uganda who started brightly on Sunday night and Zambia had goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata to thank when he denied Taddeo Lwanga in the 2nd minute.
Then, Lwanga and the impressive Milton Karisa continued torment Zambia throughout the first half.
But Chipolopolo got some respite in the 38th minute when Kambole fired in his debut Zambia goal off an assist from Ernest Mbewe.
Zambia’s celebrations were cut short two minutes later when Derrick Nsibambi’s cheeky scissors kick beat Nsabata after some good work from Karisa.
The tables changed after the break as Zambia’s application overcome Uganda’s flare when they found the back of the net twice after the hour mark.
Mulenga punished Uganda’s poor defending in the 62nd minute when he was at the end of a Kambole ball.
Fackson Kapumbu then saw his 71st minute free kick take an awkward deflection off Lwanga before Ochan dumped the on-coming looping ball across the line as he battled to deal with the situation.
Zambia now turn their gun-sights on Cote d’Ivoire on January 18 in their penultimate Group B match in Marrakech in a game they must win to qualify to the quarterfinals with a match to spare.