Zambia will look to stymie the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification hopes of Namibia when the teams meet in a Group K match at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka today.
Namibia come into the game placed second on the log behind Guinea-Bissau, having claimed eight points from their five matches thus far, while Zambia sit at the foot of the table after taking just four points and they cannot qualify for the finals in Egypt.
The Brave Warriors have their fate in their own hands: a win over Chipolopolo will guarantee qualification and a third appearance at the Nations Cup tournament (adding to 1998 and 2008).
A draw or even a loss may also be enough, but then they will be relying on the result of the other Group K game between Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, which will be played simultaneously in Bissau.
Namibia have been preparing at the facilities of South African top flight club Highlands Park ahead of their trip to Zambia, where they will be without defender Vitapi Ngaruka due to paperwork issues.
“Vitapi will not join us but we have enough depth in defence and we will prepare as such and go to Zambia to get the result we need to qualify, and remember it is really in our hands so we can’t afford to throw it away,” coach Ricardo Mannetti said. Zambia interim coach Aggrey Chiyangi will be without the injured Kennedy Mweene, while former stalwarts Rainford Kalaba and Stopilla Sunzu were not selected.
“If you look at Mweene and Stopilla, they have been playing for the national team for a long time and I think, looking at the future, other plans will come in for them but looking at this game, they will not be there,” Chiyangi explained.
The first Group K meeting between Namibia and Zambia took place in Windhoek in September last year, with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw: Benson Shilongo put the hosts ahead, but Chipolopolo struck back at the death through Justin Shonga.