The Battle Of The Zambezi
COSAFA Cup Final Preview: Zambia v Zimbabwe
Stage is set for an all ‘Rhodesian’ final in the COSAFA Cup being played at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa at 15:00 hours CAT.
This edition’s final will be the 20th anniversary of the COSAFA Cup and the cup stakes could not be higher with both teams having won the cup 4 times previously with their cup final history to add to.
Zambia last faced Zimbabwe in the 2013 edition when Zambia won 3-1 in the final and Zimbabwe having won the 2009 edition final against Zambia in Harare.
Zimbabwe come in after winning a toughly contested semi final against Lesotho that ended 4-3. The tasty encounter saw hit man Knox Mutizwa score a hat trick that included a winning goal while fellow striker Talent Chawapiwa scored a vital 3rd goal.
The striking duo have racked up 6 goals between them in this Edition of the COSAFA Cup and will be looking to add to the goals and possible earn accolades for top scorer in the final game of the tournament this afternoon.
Zimbabwe’s Sunday Chidzambwa will be out to finally silence his critics and show his stuff in an encounter which he labelled as tough and wil require his team to ‘dig deep’ to make history in South Africa and become the most successful team in the competition.
Chipolopolo come in exuding their confidence after winning their semi final which was a 6 goal thriller over Taifa Stars of Tanzania in an encounter that ended 4-2.
Justin Shonga got his second man of the match award for a second game running after scoring two good goals and assisting Brian Mwila’s first half leveller.
This competition could be termed the coming of age for Justin Shonga who could soon see himself added to the plans for Wedson Nyirenda’s Afcon and World cup Qualifing teams.
Zambia Coach Wedson Nyirenda was quated by the BBC saying “We came with a new team and for them to get to the final is a major achievement, I commend my boys for that.”
Having drafted a mostly new team for the tournament with skipper Donashano Malama and Adrian Chama being the center piece and most experienced player at the tournament for Zambia, Nyirenda has in the past come in for criticism after some dodgy results and will be looking to silence his doubters after this afternoon’s final clash.
So it’s Chipolopolo up against the Warriors, the battle of the Zambezi, a regional Derby of sorts. With two coaches with a point to prove, four fiery forwards looking to make the headlines and two neighboring countries on the edge of their seats eager to cheer!
In 2009, it was at Rufaro Stadium where Zimbabwe won the battle of Zambezi, then a Bronson Chama captained side won it on home soil at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in 2013.
Now, the stage is set at a neutral venue for Southern Africa’s top derby.
Cosafa Fact File: Only five countries have won the Africa’s premier regional tournament. South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have won four times while Angola has done it three times. Namibia won in 2013.
Zambia Probable XI v Zimbabwe: 16. Allan Chibwe -4. Chama Adrian 20. Webster Mulenga, 21. Isaac Shamujompa, 3. Lawrence Chungu – 17. Mike Katiba, 19. Jack Chirwa, 15. Donashamo Malama (c) 10. Diamond Chikwekwe, 11 – 12. Justin Shonga, 22. Brian Mwila
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