Fans hail Zambia’s fighting spirit

SOCCER fans  say they are impressed with Zambia’s fighting spirit especially in the 2017 Afcon face-saver match against Kenya in which the Chipolopolo came from behind to salvage a draw at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Sunday.

Zambia Sports Fans’ Association (ZASPOFA) patron Peter Makembo said that the Chipolopolo’s spirit of fighting up to the end was what had been missing and that he was happy that the players had shown character in the face of impending defeat.

“Zambia simply fails to hold together when they are down but it was a different situation on Sunday. We wanted them to win on Sunday but a draw isn’t bad because Kenya came here to revenge the 1-2 loss they suffered last year,” Makembo said.

The Chipolopolo Boys seemed to be heading for an embarrassing defeat to fellow 2017 continental cup rejects when skipper Rainford Kalaba burst on the right wing to cancel out Ayub Timbe Masika’s opener after a good lay off on his path by the rejuvenated Felix Katongo to stab home an equaliser.

Masika’s goal with 64 minutes played seemed to be enough for the Harambee Stars’ revenge for the 2-1 loss suffered on the home soil in the first leg in September last year. Collins Mbesuma and Winstone Kalengo saw off a stubborn Harambee Stars team.

But a utility play from out-of-favour Felix Katongo who came in as a substitute cancelled the lead.

Katongo split a barricade of Kenyan defenders and sliced a neat pass to the marauding Kalaba on the right wing through a forest of legs and the TP Mazembe hit-man made no mistake from close range as he stabbed the ball home with precision to spark a chipolopolo revival.

And Makembo has warned  the technical bench to treat the World Cup qualifier match against Nigeria with the seriousness it deserved.

He said that was the only major tournament to play after the team failed to qualify for the 2017 continental showpiece.

He said Nigeria started preparatory a long time ago as it built up to the opening match in Group B, adding that late preparations by Zambia would not be tolerated.