Chipolopolo Zambia ended a 24-year wait to win three consecutive AFCON group stage qualifying matches on Sunday when they defeated Lesotho 2-0 at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg to edge closer to qualifying for the 2023 AFCON.
One will have to go back to the reign of the late Ben Bamfuchile to trace the last time Zambia posted three successive AFCON qualifier group stage victories in the 2000 race.
In 1999, Zambia beat Kenya 1-0 in Lusaka, Madagascar 3-0 at Konkola Stadium before a famous 1-0 away win over DR Congo to also set a Chipolopolo benchmark that stands today of unbeaten runs in a group stage qualifiers in which they drew once at home against the latter.
And in the 2023 qualifiers, Zambia has now beaten Comoros 2-1 at home in Lusaka, Lesotho 3-1 at home in Ndola plus Sunday’ result after starting the qualifiers with a 3-1 away loss to Cote d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, a Patson Daka brace at Dobsonville saw him collect his third brace in a Zambia shirt after posting two goals each in a 3-3 draw against Algeria and a 2-0 away win over Zimbabwe in the 2022 AFCON qualifiers.
Patson tapped in two sweet goals in the 13th and 69th minutes both from Fashion Sakala assists to see Zambia complete a Group H double over Lesotho whom they beat 3-1 at home in Ndola in the first leg on March 23 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Zambia has now touched the magical 9 points two more than Cote d’Ivoire whom they host in their penultimate Group H qualifier during the week of June 12.
Chipolopolo has 9 points, two more than Cote d’Ivoire who visit third-place Comoros on Tuesday.
Comoros have 3 points after losing 3-1 away to Cote d’Ivoire last Friday and another loss on March 28 will mean Zambia needs a home draw in June to end their eight-year AFCON drought.
Zambia must finish second or ahead of Cote d’Ivoire to qualify who are using the Group H qualifiers as friendlies but the points go to the final classification of their three pool opponents.