Zambian national football team players celebrate after winning the African Cup of Nations title
Defending champions of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Chipolopolo of Zambia is determined to top the Group C of the 2013 edition with first round matches to be played Monday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Sunday, Zambian sports journalist, Chiwoyu Sinyangwe said in in Johannesburg that the era when Zambia used to be afraid of the Super Eagles was gone, insisting that the Chipolopolo would not only going to defeat Nigeria but also top the group in Nelspruit.
“We used to be scared of Nigeria in the days of Rashidi Yekini, Jay Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh. Not anymore. We have overcome that and your current players are average and not yet of the level of your 1994 squad that defeated us in the final of the AFCON in Tunisia,” observed Sinyagwe who is the sports editor of Zambia’s The Post newspaper.
The Zambian sports journalist who is one of the sportswriters attending the Sports and Event Tourism Exchange Conference in Johannesburg, stressed that unless Stephen Keshi and his wards are able to take their game beyond what they exhibited against Cape Verde in the friendly game in Faro last week, “I am afraid, Nigeria may not be able to achieve her dream of making the semi final of this edition here in South Africa.”
He dismissed impressions that Zambia won the cup in Gabon last year because the Super Eagles was not in the competition.
“Why did your Super Eagles failed to qualify for the AFCON 2012 jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea? What difference would your Eagles that were struggling made even if they were in Gabon,” mocked the Zambian journalist who believes that the Chipolopolo will retain the cup.
Sinyangwe however admitted that the results of Monday’s group matches may determine who tops the group.
“As you can see from the result of the opening match between South Africa and Cape Verde, there are no minnows in African football anymore. Even the second game between Angola and Morocco failed to produce a winner because everyone is now cautious of the next team. On the overall, I want to say that it was however not good for African football for there not to be a goal in 180 minutes of the opening matches of the Africa Championships,” he said..
Nigeria is opening her AFCON 2013 campaign against fellow West Africans, Burkina Faso while the defending champions have Ethiopia who are returning to the competition after over three decades absence to contend with.