Copper Bullets eye Squirrels scalp
The Zambia national team will this evening look to get back to winning ways when they take on the Squirrels of Benin in Cotonou.
Micho’s men are coming off a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Senegal over the weekend and will be keen to dust themselves off and get back to winning ways with the fans back home hoping for a positive result today.
The Serbian ‘Wolf’ is carrying a team that is thin and stretched to the barest minimum with up to 17 possible inclusions to the squad not available for selection due to various reasons but its a chance for the available players to prove a point and fight for a place in the World Cup qualifiers squad.
During the pre-match press conference yesterday Micho was quick to remind players that this is their chance to fight for a slot in the World Cup qualifiers. Micho was also quick to remind players that this is their chance to seal a spot in the World Cup qualifiers squad.
During the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification Zambia conceded 12 goals in six matches, Eight of which came against Algeria and the Serbian gaffer is keen on working on the defensive lapses ahead of World Cup qualifiers in September.
“All I want to say is that we are once more grateful that we have come to play Benin our focus is here on Benin and not looking behind, we are two teams on different missions as far as I know Benin national team is preparing for the do or die clash against Sierra Leone and having that in mind we are happy to help our friends to get them into a competitive momentum before playing Sierra Leone on a date which CAF will decide, Benin have their mission and we have our mission, unfortunately, the last match we played without several players that I can not mention against Senegal but this had negatives we had been outscored in that match but also positives from that match, some players put up good performances fighting for places in the world cup squad as we start the journey of Zambia national team to reach the world cup in that regard we were very happy with the match against Senegal,” he said.
“We are entering this match exactly with that mission to tighten and iron our defense, to be effective defensively also improve our display in the midfield of the pack and much more dangerous towards the opponents’ goal, we have to be creative and take the chances so those are my personal opinions regarding the match, the second match is a big test of character measurement of value and regeneration of Zambian players against very Good competitive team me and the coach of Benin we have been competing when he was with Ivory coast and now we expect a very good match against Benin,” he added.
Meanwhile Skipper of the side Benson Sakala is not worried about who is not in the team as it is business as usual for the Chipolopolo Boys as they square off with Benin.
“We are here for business and are here to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, so we are not here to joke around with anybody but are here to play,” he said.
“As a team, it does not matter who is there and who is not there. Our coach told us to say I believe in you guys that is why you are here. Go back in the field of play and do what you must do. It is because of the belief that the coach has in us. We came out the second half against Senegal and did well.”
Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is using the matches to prepare for September’s Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers where Zambia will be away to Mauritania before hosting Tunisia in Group B.
Benin on the other hand is preparing for their final AFCON 2021 qualifier against Sierra Leone. The match was originally scheduled for 30 March 2021 but was called off after Benin refused to play in protest of several of their players allegedly returning positive COVID-19 tests shortly before kickoff. The following day, the CAF Organising Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations decided to postpone the match to another FIFA international window yet to be confirmed.
Benin will host the Chipolopolo Boys this evening at the Mathieu Kerekou Friendship Stadium in Cotonou with kick-off set for 18:00 (CAT)
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