The battle for first and second place concludes in Group B at 2018 CHAN when Zambia faces Namibia in Casablanca on Monday night.
Leaders Zambia and second placed Namibia are both tied on six points heading into their final Group B match at 21h00.
Third placed Cote d’Ivoire and bottom side Uganda are out on zero points from two games and meet in a simultaneous kickoff in Marrakech before heading back home.
“We may have qualified but I think we are not going to take it easy because we have other things that we looking at in the next stage,” Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda said.
“We need to do our best and we have to make sure we collect maximum points in our next game.”
Nyirenda has every right to be wary of Namibia who has collected three wins against Zambia in their last four meetings.
Namibia’s only loss during that period came in June, 2015 in a 2-1 away defeat.
Interestingly, that Zambia win came in a 2016 CHAN qualifier that finished 3-3 on aggregate but Chipolopolo qualified to Rwanda 6-5 on post-match penalties.
Furthermore, Namibia are enjoying dramatic CHAN debut after recording two 1-0 stoppage time victories over Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire on their way to the quarterfinals.
Zambia and Namibia’s quarterfinal opponents on January 27 will either be tournament hosts Morocco or Sudan.
Group A leaders Morocco and number two team Sudan, who are both tied on six points, meet on Sunday night to decide their final top two status.
Meanwhile, striker Alex Ng’onga is set to miss the game after injury sidelined him from last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Cote d’Ivoire following a groin injury he sustained in Zambia’s 3-1 victory over Uganda on January 14.
“All the players in camp are OK, fit and ready for tomorrow’s game against Namibia. The players that sustained some knocks against Cote d’Ivoire have all recovered fully,” Zambia team physician Dr Mwila Lupasha said.
Donashano Malama, Simon Silwimba, Ziyo Tembo and Adrian Chama who were all left bruised against Cote d’Ivoire are the players in question.
But also still out is Power Dynamos midfielder Godfrey Ngwenya who has missed all of Zambia’s Group B matches as he continues his recovery from a knee injury he sustained on January 10 in a 3-1 friendly win over Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg.
“The other two players who have been on the sidelines; who are Ngwenya and Ng’onga are still recovering and they will not be considered for the game against Namibia tomorrow,” Dr Lupasha said.
“We probably hope that next week they will recover and return to action.”
And Zanaco midfielder Augustine Mulenga, who has three goals, returns to the pitch hoping to close-in on long-standing Zambia CHAN record.
Mulenga is two goals shy of Zambia’s CHAN all-time top scorer Given Singuluma who scored five goals at the 2009 CHAN tournament in Cote d’Ivoire where Chipolopolo finished third.