(Last Updated on January 18, 2016 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s first opponents in Group D Zambia whom they take on Tuesday are oozing with confidence and say they are unfazed by the looming clash.
Zambia coach George Lwandamina is upbeat ahead of the first group match against Zimbabwe especially after he included two of the heroes of the 2012 African Cup of Nations- Chris Katongo and Isaac Chansa in the squad.
Zambia, then skippered by Katongo, won their maiden African Cup of Nations in 2012.
Katongo, 33, has returned home to play for Green Buffaloes after stints in South Africa, Germany, Denmark, Greece and China.
He won the 2012 BBC African footballer of the Year award and his presence in the Chipolopolo squad for the CHAN finals has ignited hope among the Zambians.
“What is exciting is to see, is the high spirit in camp and hard work that the boys are putting in, then you know you are headed for a good championship,” Lwandamina told The Post of Zambia.
The Zambian gaffer said he was unfazed by the looming derby against Zimbabwe.
The trans-Zambezi clash will be the first between Zambia and Zimbabwe in a continental tournament.
“So many people have spoken so much about Zimbabwe,” Lwandamina said.
“We will give the game the respect it deserves. We are going for a tournament and Zimbabwe is not the only team we will face.”
Chipolopolo, who camped for five days in Johannesburg, South Africa ahead of the tourney, beat Angola 2-1 before drawing 0-0 against Absa Premiership side Mamelodi Sundowns in their final warm up match.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, whose side is preparing for the CAF Champions League, praised the Chipolopolo for a good show.
The Warriors, who left for Rwanda on Saturday, finished at the same final stage in the last campaign in South Africa and will be hoping to brush aside Zambia in their quest for glory. They have qualified for every edition of the tournament since it was inaugurated in 2009.
Zambia are making their second appearance at the tournament since coming third at the inaugural edition in 2009.
They arrived in Rwanda last Thursday.