Sunday, July 14, 2024

Zambia’s African Cup of Nations Profile

Zambia were surprise winners in 2012 and are now seeking a second star in the Africa Cup of Nations finals that are being held in the Ivory Coast. 

Previous appearances in finals: (17) 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015
Best performance: Winners 2012
Drawn in Group F with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco and Tanzania.

Coach: Avram Grant
The former Chelsea manager has been to two previous Cup of Nations finals with Ghana in 2015 and 2017. He was appointed Ghana’s coach just a few weeks before the 2015 edition and celebrated his 60th birthday at the tournament by taking the side to the final, where they narrowly lost on penalties to the Ivory Coast. He quit after Ghana reached the semi-finals in 2017 but has returned to African football with Zambia. Grant, now 68, had four years as coach of his native Israel’s national team before moving to Chelsea, where his side lost on post-match penalties to Manchester United in the 2007 Champions League final.

Key player: Patson Daka. Age: 25. Forward.
It has not been a satisfying season for Daka despite Leicester City leading the Championship but after missing much of the campaign, he has broken back into the line-up and scored four league goals in December. He had also netted three times for Zambia in their World Cup qualifiers against Congo and Niger and looks to be back to form at the right time. Daka was a prominent member of the Zambia side that won the African under-20 title in 2017 by which time he had already been signed by Austria Salzburg.

FIFA world ranking Dec. 2023: 84
How they qualified: Top place team in Group H, ahead of the Ivory Coast, Comoros Islands and Lesotho.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Lawrence Mulenga (Power Dynamos), Francis Mwansa (Green Buffaloes), Toaster Nsabata (Zesco United)

Defenders: Dominic Chanda (Power Dynamos), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Roderick Kabwe (Zakho), Gift Mphande (Hapoel Rishon Lezion), Frankie Musonda (Ayr United), Tandi Mwape (TP Mazembe), Zephaniah Phiri (Prison Leopards), Stoppilla Sunzu (Jinan Xingzhou)

Midfielders: Emmanuel Banda (HNK Rijeka), Rally Bwalya (Sekhukhune United), Miguel Chaiwa (Young Boys Berne), Clatous Chama (Simba), Edward Chilufya (Hacken), Kings Kangwa (Red Star Belgrade), Kelvin Kapumbu (Zesco United), Golden Mafwenta (MFK Vyskov), Kelvin Mubanga (Zesco United), Frederick Mulambia (Power Dynamos), Lubambo Musonda (Silkeborg), Switzerland), Benson Sakala (Mlada Boleslav)

Forwards: Lameck Banda (Lecce), Patson Daka (Leicester City), Kennedy Musonda (Young Africans), Fashion Sakala (Al Fayha).

[Cosafa]

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