Chipolopolo Zambia goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe turned villain in Saturday’s 2022 COSAFA Cup semifinal win over Senegal at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Zambia won 4-3 but the match almost went the other way after Chibwe conceded three goals in the last twenty minutes of the second half.
It all started on a promising note when Kelvin Mubanga put Zambia ahead in the 15th minute to score his first of two on the day.
Senegal leveled three minutes later through Lamine Camara but Zambia restored their lead in the 34th minute through Spencer Sautu to go two-one into halftime.
Ricky Banda added the fourth in the 53rd minute and Mubanga completed his brace in the 63rd minute.
But that is when Chibwe decided to steal the spotlight when he was caught off his line by El Haji Ndiaye in the 72nd minute to see Senegal mount a convincing comeback.
Enock Sakala Junior interrupted that momentarily in the 77th minute but was denied Senegal goalkeeper Aliou Faty who palmed out his goal-bound shot as his luckless run continued for a second straight COSAFA Cup game.
That was just a brief interlude before the Chibwe show resumed in the 88th minute when Moussa Ndiaye hammered in an embarrassing long-range volley to punish him for another poor judgment of positioning.
Then three minutes deep into stoppage time, Jean Diouf fired an acute angle shot that rolled on the goal line and hit the far post but fortunately Chibwe scrambled to keep out the ball before the final whistle saved the bell for him, and Chipolopolo.
Zambia has qualified for the final on July 17 to be played at the same venue where they will face Namibia who beat Mozambique 1-0 in the first kickoff of Friday’s COSAFA Cup semifinal doubleheader.
Chibwe has never impressed me since he came to the limelight. Not that he’s a bad player, certainly not. He needs to calm his nerves. He’s too much in a hurry to cement his position in the team. He reminds me of Steven Zimba. He had the potential of becoming Zambia’s #1 goal keeper but too many fumbles costed him a spot on the national team. Even Nsabata had the same problem but he has now matured. Calm down youngman and keep your head up. You’ll get there.
Finally their quality shined. But 4-3 is like a penalty shootout win. Superb Kelvin Kampamba shouldn’t be tempted to join a South Afrcan club by scouts, that will weaken Zambia’s CHAN team. Besides, too many Zambian players’ careers have been dented by moving to South Africa: Lazarous Kambole, Sebastian Mwange, Austin Muwowo, Charles Zulu. As for Mwenya Chibwe, can’t we try another keeper?
The report is so confusing: after Chibwe conceded three goals in the last twenty minutes of the second half. But then the score should have been 4-3 to the Senegalese if that were to be true.
The team is certainly young and inexperienced. What really worries me is the defense. There is absolutely no need to heap blame on the goalkeeper alone. The defense is porous and allows goals at will. Every game Chipololopolo has played so far, they have conceded goals.
The team management needs to work on the defense as soon as possible before the AFCON qualifiers resume in a month’s time.
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