Sunday, May 19, 2024

EAST AFRICAN VIEW- ‘Chipolopolo’ fire Afcon warning shots to ‘Taifa Stars’

By MOHAMED ISSA

Zambia’s ‘The Chipolopolos’ fired warning shots to 2023 Afcon Group Stage rivals ‘Taifa Stars’ of Tanzania after thrashing neighbours ‘The Cranes’ of Uganda 3-0 in a buildup match at the Al Hamriyah Sports Club stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday.

The Copper Bullets’ goals were scored by Golden Mafwenta from a penalty spot in the sixth minute, Fashion Sakala in the 63rd minute and Patson Daka in the 69th minute but the outcome should have sent shivers down the spine of the Tanzanian national side which will be meeting the Chipolopolos in an Afcon Group F opener at the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro in Ivory Coast mid this January.

The two sides last met in a competitive continental game in Cameroon in January 2021 in a Group D match for the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) when the game ended 2-0 in favour of the Zambians.

‘The Taifa Stars’ were by then under the tutelage of Burundian tactician Etienne Ndayiragije while their opponents were managed by the well-known Milutin Sredojevic “Micho”.

The goals were scored by Collins Sikombe on a penalty spot in 64th minute and Emmanuel Chabula in the 81st minute.

Zambia, Tanzania and DR Congo have been placed in Group F together with heavyweights Morocco’s the Atlas Lions in the 2023 Afcon draw held in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, a fortnight ago.

Their matches will be played at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro with the Group’s opening match likely to be between Zambia versus Tanzania.

It is seen as a fair Group with each side having the chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

‘The Leopards’ and the ‘Chipolopolos’ are past winners of the tournament, but Tanzania has not gone far from the Group Stage in its two appearances so far in the continental showpiece one in 1980 in Nigeria and the other in Egypt in 2019.

‘The Leopards’ won it twice first in 1968 and then in 1974 at home cheered by the then world’s king of boxing, Muhammad Ali who was in the country for the global famous heavyweight boxing meet “Rumble in the Jungle” pitting him with George Foreman.

‘The Chipolopolos’ triumphed in Gabon in 2012 by beating Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties in the final match with the Ivorian skipper, Didier Drogba having skyrocketed his penalty kick.

Tanzania drew 1-1 with Sudan in another buildup match played in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

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