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Zambia’s Chipolopolo begin their AFCON campaign tonight Saturday 1/21 in a 23:00hrs kick off against tournament fovourites, Senegal.
Chipolopolo Boys coach Herve Renard is set to name two debutants in his starting line up for Saturday night’s African Cup of Nations group opener clash against Senegal.
According to Zambianfootball.net, Russian based playmaker and debutant Chisamba Lungu as expected will start in his new found role as a right full back while the veteran Joseph Musonda is likely to win his 87th cap on the left full back.
The Zamfoot Crew also understands that Hichani Himonde will get the nod over vice captain Kampamba Chintu for the right to partner his TP Mazembe colleague Stopilla Sunzu.
Renard is also set to ring a surprise in midfield with another TP Mazembe player in the form of Francis ‘Mr Reliable’ Kasonde in the starting line up. ‘Mr Reliable’s versatility comes handy again as he will partner debutant Nathan Sinkala in what looks like a flat two holding midfield play. Chris and Kalaba are set to man the wide areas of midfield taking the left and right sides respectively.
Isaac Chansa will complete the packed midfield. He is expected to play in a similar role he plays at Orlando Pirates running from midfield just behind the main striker. Everyone will hope the former Helsinborg midfielder replicates his club (Orlando Pirates) form in this position which has made him one of the most prolific attacking midfielders in front of goal in the PSL.
Swiss based Young Boys striker Emmanuel Mayuka will lead the line as he gets a nod ahead of more experienced James Chamanga and Collins Mbesuma in what will be a 4 3 3 formation.
With the fire Power going forward attributed to the Senegalese, one can only nod the Frenchmans tactics as he has put enough cover in midfield in Nathan and Francis to shield the defence and has gone for tenacity to attack defend in Chris Katongo with Rainford Kalaba providing the balance in creativity. Isaac is expected to thrive in this position. His robust box-to-box play and knack for goals will come in handy as he offers options even outside the 18 yard box.
Midfield maestro Kalaba could end also having a free role, mainly drifting inside, allowing arguably Zambia’s skillful player Chisamba, playing at right back to overlap to weigh in crosses down the right flank.
Mayuka has been to more than one AFCON and has slowly learnt the ropes with his exposure to high level European football and should be ripe to lead the line.
The strategic is play a compact midfield, pack the bus and handle the West African’s aerial prowess, and then hit them on the counter attack in what would be a ‘smash ‘n grab,’ tactic.
Probable line-up: Kennedy Mweene – Chisamba Lungu, Hichani Himonde, Stopilla Sunzu, Joseph Musonda – Rainford Kalaba, Isaac Chansa, Francis Kasonde, Nathan Sinkala, Chris Katongo (c) – Emmanuel Mayuka