FOLLOWING massive disappointments in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Zambia and Zimbabwe clash on Tuesday night in Lusaka, aiming to get their respective campaigns back on track.
The 2012 champions were destroyed 5-0 by reigning African champions Algeria on Wednesday in Bilda while the Warriors could only manage a nil all home draw against Botswana.
Algeria lead the standings with three points and face the Zebras in Gaborone, who have a point like the Warriors while Zambia prop up Group H.
Now, Zambia interim coach Aggrey Chiyangi has summoned Under 23 international Patrick Daka from the Afcon U/23 championships to help with dealing with the Warriors on Tuesday night.
That’s not the only threat the Warriors face, there is also 2012 Afcon winner Stoppila Nsunzu who has been recalled for his experience together with various players from the Absa Premiership in South Africa.
One of them from SA is Lazarus Kambole from league leaders Kaizer Chiefs and Justin Shonga from struggling fellow giants Orlando Pirates.
Veteran goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene of Mamelodi Sundowns is also there and admitted to the Daily Mail of Zambia that what happened in Algeria was a disaster.
“It’s one match that we need to quickly forget and move on, we have to use home advantage and get maximum points from the match otherwise we will be in trouble if we fail to win,” he was quoted as saying.
For the Warriors, who departed for Lusaka on Sunday midday from Harare, there is just no two ways about this assignment: it’s win or bust.
Interim coach Joey Antipas’ technical shortcomings were crudely exposed and a number of changes are expected in Tuesday’s encounter if his words are anything to rely on.
“We created a lot of chances especially in the second half but our conversion rate was poor. We need goals and we could make changes here and there to deal with that,” he opined after the Friday night draw.
Top of the list to be dropped is the trio of off color skipper Knowledge Musona, Ovidy Karuru and Knox Mutizwa.
In their place, Antipas could try Kuda Mahachi on the right wing, Khama Billiat on the left with the duo of Prince Dube and Evans Rusike leading the attack.Behind the strikers, Aston Villa star Marvellous Nakamba could be asked to push up with Thabani Kamusoko replacing Marshall Munetsi in the anchorman’s role.
Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Ronald Pfumbidzayi and Ian Nekati would form the backbone of defence with Elvis Chipezeze maintaining the number one spot.
Either way, Antipas has very little choices in Zambia, it could be his last Warriors match in charge for all we know and if it is, he has to leave the team in good stead.
The qualifiers will resume in the new year.