Chipolopolo return to action this Saturday against eSwatini looking to resuscitate their 2021 COSAFA Cup semifinal hopes.
The defending COSAFA Cup champions head into the match shell-shocked following Thursdays 2-1 loss to Lesotho in their opening Group A fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay where South Africa is hosting this year’s tournament from July 6-18.
In that match, Zambia led 1-0 at halftime but Lesotho hit back after the hour-mark to sink the five-time COSAFA Cup champion’s hopes of making a statement on day-one.
Milutin Sredojevic’s side is slumped bottom of Group A on zero points together with Botswana who have both played one game each.
Lesotho are third on 3 points, tied with second positioned eSwatini after two games played by both teams.
Eswatini plays Zambia after also losing on Thursday when hosts and Group A leaders South Africa beat them 1-0 to collect maximum 6 points to put the latter as early favorites to clinch a commanding position in the top two semifinal spots from their pool.
With three games left to play by Chipolopolo, Saturday’s match is a must-win for them to realistically stand a chance of now finishing runners–up Group A.
And with Micho blessed with Zambia’s best assembled COSAFA Cup team in fifteen years, another defeat will raise questions on whether he is be the man to oversee the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifiers that start this September with firstly a trip to Mauritania before hosting Tunisia in Ndola.