Zambia national soccer team has been shaping up and intensified its training ahead of this weekend’s crunch encounter against Group D basement side Lesotho.
Though Lesotho are considered as one of the Southern Africa minnows wise, their back to back home draws with Sudan and Zambia, has again brought out a common footballing niche ‘there are no smaller teams.’
But the perception in the Copperbelt headquarters Ndola City is different. Zimandolans as the people from the quiet Zambia’s third largest city are called is different.
Rambling around from Broadway to President Avenue in town then to Itawa and Chifubu, and finally Kansenshi townships, one can notice the belief in most Chipolopolo faithful.
The fans have been bubbling with confidence when asked to predict the final score line.
“4-0 to Zambia,” was the response of a barber man earlier on Thursday morning.
Another fan said, “Boss, It’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.” The atmosphere inside the Stadium is nothing compared to what the Lesotho players are used to.
“For those who have watched games from that Stadium, they attest to the fact there’s a funny echo. And that will be the weapon because when we scream from the first to final whistle, they will think it’s 80,000 fans. I don’t know how the Chinese did on that echo but it makes the atmosphere incredible,” he added.
Heading inside Shoprite, one is greeted to morale boasting songs. From Sakala brothers’ ‘Puteni Ichimwela’ song featuring the legendary commentator Dennis Liwewe to Mozegater’s ‘Are you ready boys?
The boss has been relaxed the whole week and looks ready for the clash
What about Tribal Cousins’ Chipolopolo 2000? And Mimbulu family’s Vuvuzela? They all played and one had to delay shopping and wondered around so that all the songs are played and luckily it ended with Kopala finest and their own Mark 2’s ‘Vikamo Ichimwela’ with the ‘feeling feeling’ instrumental.
‘Mu goal muli Ba Mwine ba Mweene……Kalaba talaba efimweba Renard.’ Unfortunately both Kennedy Mweene and Rainford Kalaba are out through suspension and injury respectively.
After Shoprite, one jumps on a taxi and the man on the wheel predicts another emphatic victory but he is not too sure with what is happening in the goalkeeping department.
Key men: Kalaba and Mweene are out while Fwayo will be playing his first match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium
“I hear Titima has been recalled but the other ones I don’t know them.
And when asked about his preferred choice, the taxi driver responded, “I don’t know. For the goalkeepers, we are praying they do a good job.
Then comes the prediction for the goal scorers, many as expected and if you are betting man, put your man on Collins Mbesuma. That’s the message from the host fans –Zimandola faithful.
At this hour, It’s all systems go, full support and not time to point fingers or find faults. It’s Zambia’s maiden appearance at a FIFA World Cup at stake. Fans and all stakeholders have to be united and rally behind the Copper Bullets.
While many international pundits have already earmarked the final Group D clash in Kumasi between the 2012 African Champions Zambia and the Black Stars of Ghana as the match to decide the destiny, it is this sort of matches which shape destiny.
Ghana have a tricky tie away in Khartoum and the Sudanese are not pushovers at home. A draw in Khartoum and a win for Zambia tomorrow will be enough to keep the nation’s dream.
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