Dreams shattered

Zambia’s dreams of a 2014 Brazil World Cup maiden appearance were yesterday shattered after a poor showing by the Chipolopolo Boys who went down 2-1 to the four time African champions at Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi.

The final group D qualifying match has been what every team in the group was waiting for and it came as it was fore told with the favourites, Ghana, taking the trip to the final round of the qualifying series.

With so much at stake, the Herve Renard boys needed a win to dump the Black Stars out of the race in group D but it was Abdul Majeed strike in the 17th minute that kicked off the Chipolopolo nightmares after he beat Chipolopolo goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

Ghana were coming into the match needing only a draw but with so many professionals recalled and playing before a capacity home crowd, they were rewarded when Majeed took advantage of the defence lapses between Stopilla Sunzu and Davies Nkausu to hit the back of the net.

With Emmanuel Mayuka playing the solitary striker in the 4-5-1 formation, the Chipolopolo were out played though once in a while they took possession of the ball but failed to penetrate the Ghana defence.

The tense first half saw veteran Joseph Musonda limping off and replaced by Emmanuel Mbola just before the break as the Chipolopolo fought to level the score line.

The introduction of Fwayo Tembo for Hichani Himoonde after break breathed a sense of life into the Chipolopolo as he found space on the left flank and led Zambia to bombard the Black Stars though no positive results came their way.

The hosts however changed the tempo of the game in their favour with the introduction of Michael Essien and within a short spell in the 60th minute, Asamoah got goalkeeper Mweene wrong footed with a long range to push the West Africans to the brink of making their third successive World Cup appearance.

The second goal from Asamoah was what the Ghanaians were waiting for to rejuvenate themselves as the Zambians tried to come into the game seeking the elusive goal to open up their account and indeed in the 72nd minute TP Mazembe midfielder Nathan Sinkala pumped life in the Zambian line up with a neat goal that somehow got the Renard boys as they changed the score board to 2-1.

Coach Renard will of course take stock that he did his best for the Zambian team but the players had themselves to account for the below par performance as Andre Ayew, Majeed and Asamoah took control of the midfield and outpaced Katongo, Mayuka and Fwayo in the fight for the lone ticket to Brazil from the group.