Chipolopolo on Wednesday beat local side Power Dynamos 3-1 in a practice match ahead of Saturday’s clash against Libya.
The encounter played at Kitwe’s Arthur Davies against a team in strong contention for the local league title was an interesting affair, particularly in the second half when coach Dario Bonetti unleashed what looks like his main team for Saturday with Mbesuma on song.
Zambia opened the scores in the 20th minute courtesy of Noah Chivuta who finished off a Given Singuluma cross.
Power replied in the 37th minute with in-form striker Felix Nyaende cleverly lobbing over Chipolopolo second choice custodian Kalililo Kakonje after a three some communication breakdown involving the goal-minder, Hichani Himoonde and Chintu Kampamba.
Five minutes into the second half, Chipolopolo was ahead thanks to Isaac Chansa’s header finishing off Jacob Mulenga’s goal-bound header off Chris Katongo’s corner kick.
In the 73 minute striker Collins Mbesuma delivered a spectacle when he scored with an overhead kick making good use of a Katongo cross from the right flank. The former and Kaizer Chiefs and Portsmouth striker displayed flashed of what made him the most popular national team player the last decade, much to the delight of the sizeable crowd at Arthur Davies.
Substitutions by Power coach Beston Chambeshi of diminutive winger Simon Bwalya for midfielder Mukuka Mulenga and later Alex Ng’onga for Nyaende did not help matters as his counterpart Bonetti fielded a stronger side in the second half.
The Italian started the match with what looked like his ‘B’ team and immediately gave a clue of what his starting line-up would be when he unleashed a different team at half time.
First-choice goalie Kennedy Mweene, Francis Kasonde, Joseph Musonda, Nyambe Mulenga, Stopilla Sunzu, Justin Zulu, Chris Katongo, Isaac Chansa, Jacob Mulenga, Collins Mbesuma and James Chamanga were introduced.
Save for suspended midfielder Rainford Kalaba and Thomas Nyirenda, the rest of the team introduced at half-time was a replica of that which toiled to beat the Comoros Island 2-1 last month.
Power resumed the second half with only goalkeeper Joshua Titima introduced for Elliot Phiri at half time while their opponents had made a complete overhaul of the first 11.
The win comforts Bonetti as he looks for an outright win when his side goes into the final 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Group C match at Nchanga Stadium.
Libya is expected to arrive in Zambia at 22:00 hours aboard a chartered flight and would be accommodated at Protea Hotel in Chingola.
Zambia starting line-up (First-half)
Kalililo Kakonje, Davis Nkausu, Emmanuel Mbola, Hichani Himoonde, Kampamba Chintu, Thomas Nyiremda, Clifford Mulenga (Fwayo Tembo), William Njobvu, Emmanuel Mayuka, Noah Chivuta and Given Singuluma.
Elliot Phiri (Joshua Titima), Govender Simwala, Lawrence Chungu, Billy Imonda, Kamuzati Kabwe, Gilbert Kalusa, Simon Bwalya, Emmanuel Chimpinde, Felix Nyaende (Alex Ng’onga), Joseph Sitali and Kennedy Mudenda.
Zambia (Second Half)
Kennedy Mweene, Francis Kasonde, Joseph Musonda, Nyambe Mulenga, Stopilla Sunzu, Justin Zulu, Chris Katongo, Isaac Chansa, Jacob Mulenga, Collins Mbesuma and James Chamanga.