Zambia 1 – 2 Nigeria – Player Ratings
Nigerian became the first country to beat Zambia in a full international match at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium when they beat the Chipolopolo 2 – 1 in a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier match. This was however the second loss for Chipolopolo a the Ndola fortress after they were beaten by Zimbabwe in the CHAN qualifier in August 2013 which saw them miss out on the 2014 tournament.
The ZamFoot Crew looks at how the players performed on a dissapointing afternoon for the Chiopolopolo.
Kennedy Mweene 7/10 – Could have done very little about the belter scored by Alexander Iwobi, though he could have saved the ball with a stronger hand as he touched it. He did well to go off his line quickly to drive Kilechi Iheanacho to the by-line once the defence had been split by the the strikers run but his defenders did not help him. He made three brilliant saves in the game which kept Zambia in the game.
Kabaso Chongo 2/10 – Should take full responsibility for the first goal conceded due to his half-hearted approach to marking. He had Iwobi in his sight standing alone in the box for a long time and he never moved an inch to get close to him despite it being obvious that the striker would score if the ball fell to him. Even when he reacted after the striker had the ball, he didn’t throw his body on the line to save the situation. He looked vulnerable when Nigeria attacked, going forward, he only managed two good crosses.
Fackson Kapumbu 4.5/10 – A good debut for the full back. He was steady in defense. He pushed forward but his cross was very poor and never managed to pick a striker even when it seemed easy to do so. He can only grow into the position.
Adrian Chama 1/10 – A very bad day at the office for the usually reliable GBFC strongman, his worst game in a Chipolopolo jersey. He was jittery through out the first half, made mistakes in defense, was poor at marking, couldnt keep his man, he couldnt pass the ball out of defense. He put his clearing header from a throw-in right in front of Iwobi who blasted home. He was easily decieved by Iheanacho for the seconf goal as he could have gone to close him down by the line but he held his run thinking the young striker would shoot immediately. The coach had to put him out of his misery soon after the restart.
Stoppilla Sunzu 5/10 – He rose to the challenge and put up one of his best performances in recent times. He was strong on the ball, he never let the the Nigerian strikers off easily. However his enthusiasm to stick close to the striker saw him easily beaten by the ball which fell into the path of Iheanacho for the second goal. He looked more at ease once Kondwani Mtonga partnered him.
Nathan Sinkala 4/10 – Without another midfielder with an orientation to quickly track back in the starting XI, it was always going to be a tough job against a Nigerian side attacking through the middle. He did not help his cause as well as he sometimes wanted to over-do things when a simple touch could have helped. Its hard to remember him pick out a man with his long range passing.
Chisamba Lungu 5/10 – The Ural midfielder had a fair game. He however did not impose himself in the midfield and mostly went sideways when his job was to inject forward play in the game. He brought some stability in the midfield in the second half with his one touch football.
Fwayo Tembo 7.5/10 – A good game for Fwayo. His ingenuity going forward was excellent. He was Zambia’s outlet on the flanks and sent in more crosses into the box than any other player on the pitch. His hard cross led to Zambia’s goal when the Nigerian defender failed to clear. His perfect cross for Kalaba should have counted for an assist had the skipper put the ball on either side of the keeper. He had a couple of shots on target and his skills were too much for his markers. He was substituted for Rogers Kola late in the game.
Rainford Kalaba 5.5/10 – It was a mixed performance by the skipper. He looked dangerous on the ball and his creativity was second to none as evidenced by the flicked lay-off for Mbesuma which the striker miscued. He took on the defenders and cut through them at will but his final execution was poor. Twice he was denied by Ikene in goal when he headed Fwayo’s cross and another when he beat two defenders only to see his shot come off the shoulder of the keeper.
Winstone Kalengo 4/10 – A subdued performance by the striker. He found himself playing to deep trying to fetch the ball from the midfield leaving the combination with Mbesuma upfront disjoint. The defenders were comfortable with his operating in between the lines as he did not run into the channels. He was substituted in the 57th minute.
Collins Mbesuma 7/10 – He scored the goal for Zambia. A personal effort and well executed finish. He at least managed to work the Nigerian defenders and made Zambia’s cause as a striking unit felt. Earlier in the half he laid the ball for an on-coming Chisamba but he failed to take advantage.
Kondwani Mtonga 6/10 – He brought stability in the back line once he came in. He was calm and collected. No panick
Jackson Mwanza 7/10 – The Zesco United lad has upped his game and he changed the complexion of Zambia’s attack once he came in with his on and off the ball runs. He was unlucky not score when he saw his well taken header from a corner go straight on to the keeper.
Rogers Kola – Not rated
Coach Wedson Nyirenda 5/10 – It was an ambitious starting XI he named especially for his very first game. He gambled on playing Nathan Sinkala alone without support in the holding role when he thrives on having a box to box midfielder alongside him and Zambia seemed exposed in that area. He also changed the roles that saw the Mbesuma Kalengo partnership thrive. He allowed Kalengo to drift to deep instead of letting him stick to the ‘9’ position while Mbesuma drops off to do the work for him. Wada was quick to correct what was not going right when he pulled out Adrian Chama for Kondwani Mtonga and Winstone Kalengo for Jackson Mwanza early in the second half. He however seemed not brave enough to substitute the “Master” when he needed more power upfront. It seemed an easy decision to substitute Kalaba for lanky Rogers Kola and maintain Fwayo Tembo who was Zambias outlet on the flanks and was whipping in crosses which Kola could have thrived on. Despite this, all his subs upped Zambia game. He will also be happy with the teams response despite going down by two goals as they created a lot of chances and just lacked the final touch. Nyirenda still has work to do in the next four weeks before Zambia play Cameroun.
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