ZAMBIA will be under-pressure to record a win to keep alive the hopes of qualifying for the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals when they clash with Kenya this afternoon at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.
The Chipolopolo Boys dominated the past fixtures against the Harambee Stars and will be targeting to extend that history today.
The two teams last met on November 28, 2009 at the same venue during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup under Herve Renard.
Zambia beat Kenya 2-0 with goals from James Chamanga and Felix Sunzu.
Interim coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina said he has assembled a team capable of beating Kenya at their backyard.
“I have a formidable team that can bring down Kenya. The boys know what is at stake and they will put in their very best. A win is what we need and nothing else. The boys will definitely apply seriousness to this game,” he said.
Kenya coach Bobby Williams said he is going into the game without creative midfielders giving Zambia an upper hand.
“We have a lot of defensive midfielders, that’s where there’s a lot of competition. But we lack creative midfielders, no disrespect to anybody. We need balance in the team but that’s an area we are short in,” Williams said.
Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama said he was ready for a tough match against Zambia.
“The players know what is important in this game, which is to grab a win. We are keen to see Kenya make a return to the Africa Cup of Nations finals. It’s been now over 13 years since we last featured in the competition,” he said.Harambee Stars striker Dennis Oliech is expected to give kingpin defender Stophilla Sunzu a good run.
Meanwhile, Lwandamina will look up to striker Collins Mbesuma to replicate his good scoring abilities during training in today’s match.
The expected combination of skipper Rainford Kalaba and Lubambo Musonda may produce goals for the Zambian team.
Zambia in group E is tied on a point with Guinea Bissau, Kenya and Congo as they head into the second match.
The Chipolopolo Boys recorded a barren draw in the opening qualifier against Guinea Bissau on June 13 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
The Zambian squad has Goalkeppers: Kennedy Mweene (Mamelodi Sundowns), Daniel Munyao (Red Arrows), Jacob Banda (Zesco United),
Defenders: Aaron Katebe (Maghreb Atlantic), Stoppila Sunzu (Lille, France), Christopher Munthali (Power Dynamos), Boyd Mkandawire (Napsa Stars), Benedict Chepeshi (Red Arrows), Donashano Malama (Nkana)
Midfielders: Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala (both TP Mazembe), Chisamba Lungu (Ural FC, Russia), Kondwani Mtonga (North East, India), Buchizya Mfune, Jackson Chirwa (both Green Buffaloes), Benson Sakala (Power Dynamos), Solomon Sakala (Kabwe Warriors), Paul Katema, (Red Arrows), Lubambo Musonda (Ulisses, Armenia)
Strikers: Collins Mbesuma (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Jackson Mwanza, Winston Kalengo (both from Zesco), Friday Samu (Green Buffaloes).