Chipolopolo Zambia on Friday returns to action to play one of the few opponents they have never lost to.
Mali hosts Chipolopolo in Bamako on September 23 in the first of two friendly games against each other this weekend.
This is the Chipolopolo A team’s first match since beating Comoros 2-1 at home in Lusaka last June in a 2023 AFCON group stage qualifier.
But the buildup to the doubleheader has been a turbulent one after Chipolopolo coach Aljosa Asanovic boycotted his return to Zambia to prepare for the Mali trip.
Asanovic has stayed put at his home base in Croatia citing a dispute with FAZ.
However, FAZ said The Croat has been AWOL for the last month since failing to qualify Zambia for the 2023 CHAN tournament on July 30 when Mozambique beat Chipolopolo B 1-0 in Lusaka to knock them out by the same aggregate score line.
Chipolopolo assistant coach Moses Sichone will be in interim charge of the two friendlies on September 23 and 26.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo head into Friday with a good record over Mali.
Zambia has two wins and as many draws against Mali.
But Zambia heads into the game with two major doubts.
Leicester City striker Patson Daka and Power Dynamos midfielder Joshua Mutale are feeling under the weather with fevers and are likely to sit out Friday’s game.