Zambia snatched a fortunate draw away against Namibia in an unconvincing start for Sven Vandenbroeck’s reign as Chipolopolo coach.
Chipolopolo conjured a very rare stoppage time rally to snatch point away in Windhoek where they finished 1-1 against Namibia on match -day-two of the 2019 AFCON Group K qualifiers.
It was Zambia’s first point in the Group K qualifiers after losing 1-0 at home to Mozambique on June 10, 2017 in Ndola.
But Vandenbroeck clearly has a hard act to follow from his predecessor Wedson Nyirenda, who despite a lot of criticisms during his tenure, showed direction on his debut in a 2-1 home loss to Nigeria in October, 2016.
A case in question is why influential midfielder Enock Mwepu only came on in the last 12 minutes of a disjointed game that veterans Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala failed to show any command after ending over a year in exile.
Sinkala, though, did hit the post in the 55th minute while Kalaba’s header was parried in the first half by Namibia goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Left-back Kabaso Chongo was Zambia’s best player on the day with a convincing display in central defence where he partnered Stopilla Sunzu.
Meanwhile, both sides scored through their respective substitutes in the last quarter of the match.
Benson Shilongo put Namibia ahead in the 78th minute, ten minutes after he came on, after sweeping past Sunzu who was covering for an absent Lawrence Chungu.
Justin Shonga then fired in a trademark free kick in stoppage time eight minutes after he replaced Patson Daka who had a goal-bound effort in the 73rd minute parried by Vries.
Zambia and Namibia collect their first points in Group K but stay 4th and 3rd respectively on 1 point.
Mozambique and Guinea Bissau stay first and second tied on 4 points after drawing 2-2 in the late afternoon Group K kickoff in Maputo.
Vandenbroeck and his team now fly out to Libreville to face Gabon in a friendly on Tuesday where it is hoped there will be some mitigation for the Belgian after collecting a D-Minus in his Windhoek test.