Zambia edge Kenya to pick up three vital points

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Collins Mbesuma

Collins Mbesuma

Collins Mbesuma marked his return to the national side with a winning goal as Zambia came from behind to defeat Kenya 2-1 in a Group E match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers played at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.

The veteran forward struck three minutes before the interval after earlier setting up strike partner Winston Kalengo to cancel out Micheal Olunga’s 13th minute opener.

Young striker Olunga had given the hosts an early lead when he shrugged off the attentions of Boyd Mkandawire and Aaron Katebe before poking the ball over the on rushing Mweene.

Despite the early setback, Zambia refused to lie down and responded with an equaliser from Winston Kalengo who calmly controlled a dipping pass from the resurgent Mbesuma before rifling into the top corner of Origi’s goal.

Kalengo turned provider in the 42nd minute when he chested a throw-in before laying the ball into the path of Mbesuma who fired home the winner off the upright.

The second half started with the hosts on the front foot and could have restored parity in the 50th minute but Olunga saw his header cleared off the line by Chisamba Lungu, with the shaky Kennedy Mweene in no man’s land.

Thereafter, Lwandamina’s charges hang on for dear life as the home side poured forward in search of an equalizer but could not find a way past a resolute Chipolopolo defence lead by the impressive Stoppila Sunzu.

The home fans could not take it any more as they begun trooping out of the stadium before the final whistle.

The victory means Zambia moves into second position on the standings with 4 points on goal difference from Congo who edged bottom placed Guinea Bissau 4 – 2 on Saturday.

And in a post-match interview, Chipolopolo coach George Lwandamina said he had picked lessons from the match but added that the most important was that his team emerged victorious.

“It was a good victory. It wasn’t an easy game; playing away from home and with some new players in the team, it was great to see them withstand the pressure.

“Our opponents played long balls to avoid our midfield but it worked against them because that kind of play can be good for anyone,” Lwandamina said.

The Chipolopolo gaffer then heaped praise on the resurgent Mbesuma whose experience he said proved invaluable.

“Playing Mbesuma was not a gamble. He is doing fine at his club in South Africa that’s why I invited him so he could add value to the team and his contribution proved worthwhile. His experience was good for the team today.”

Meanwhile Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson blamed his defence for the loss.

“We started very well but we defended badly although to be fair they worked hard and fought well. But the frailty is in how we conceded the goals and that’s disappointing,” Williamson said.

Zambia host Congo in the next match scheduled for the midweek of 23 to 26 March 2016 while Kenya travel to Guinea Bissau during the same week.


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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31