SINKALA TO PARTNER MWEPU IN MIDFIELD…as Salulani drops to the bench
Chipolopolo stand-in coach Aggrey Chiyangi is set to partner Nathan Sinkala and Enock Mwepu in midfield in tonight’s Cameroon 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Zimbabwe in the latest edition of the ‘Battle of Zambezi.’
Sinkala, one of the two AFCON winners left in the squad after the withdraw of Stopilla Sunzu, returned to the squad after being snubbed for over 12 months.
The TP Mazembe midfielder was impressive in the engine room against Algeria 6 days ago in Blida as he rolled back the years to 2012 when he was unplayable.
While in Blida against the African Champions he was partnered with a more defensive Salulani Phiri, tonight he is set to have arguably Zambia’s most valuable player Enock ‘Computer’ Mwepu.
On Monday night during the team’s training session, Sinkala and Mwepu showed glimpses that it can be midfield pair that can flourish. In the last decade, the only other midfield pair which can be compared to is that of Sinkala and Isaac ‘Gattuso’ Chansa.
And two decades ago then it has to be the 1996 AFCON pair of Vincent Mutale and John ‘Spiderman’ Lungu.
On paper, Sinkala and Mwepu could arguably be the best even although for the old folks, they would always go for the Charles Musonda and the late Derby Makinka partnership, and that of Nathan’s elder brother Andrew and Gift Kampamba even though the latter never featured frequently as pair at international level.
To be considered one of the greatest midfield, Sinkala and Mwepu need to start delivering now.
The duo has featured as a pair in the middle of the pack for Zambia three times and that was last year when Belgian coach Sven Vandenbroeck was still at the helm.
They started in the 2-1 home over Guinea Bissau but they were on the losing side twice in Mozambique and Guinea Bissau. Tuesday night’s match against Zimbabwe will be the fourth match the pair will be involved.
With Sinkala and Mwepu in midfield, the back four picks itself as Zesco United’s Clement Mwape will replace Sunzu. Mwape will start at right-back as he is set to make his debut in an AFCON qualifier.
In central defense, TP Mazembe duo Kabaso Chongo and Thandi Mwape will try to take their club form to international. At left-back, Zanaco’s Lawrence Chungu will continue.
Zambia takes on Zimbabwe at Heroes Stadium tonight at 18h00 on matchday 2.
Algeria tops the group on 6 points while Zimbabwe and Botswana have a point. Zambia is the bottom of the group.
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