Chipolopolo winger, Fashion Sakala, says the team is ready for Sunday’s Group F match against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference at the Laurent Pokou Stadium on Saturday, Sakala said the squad was looking forward to the match on Sunday.
“It is a very important game and the team is ready, we are ready to fight, we are highly motivated.
“I think we did our best in the first game; we played one of the best teams in the tournament, we are looking forward to play with Tanzania, it will be a very tough game, I think we have prepared well, everyone has showed passion and hard work during our training, so we are ready for the game,” Sakala said.
The Al Fahya star said the preparation for the match had been good with the squad focused on delivering.
He also said that the state of the Laurent Pokou Stadium was good for Zambia’s style of play.
The Chipolopolo recorded a 1-1 draw against the Democratic Republic of Congo, while the Taifa Stars lost 3-0 to Morocco.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo coach, Avram Grant, said the game against Tanzania would be important for Zambia’s aspirations to qualify to the next round of the AFCON.
Grant said he was happy with the resilience of his squad against a highly talented Democratic Republic of Congo side in the opening match which ended 1-1.
He said the DR Congo match was behind Zambia and the team was focused on the match against Tanzania tomorrow at 19:00 hours (CAT).
“The most important (thing) in football is the next game, we did a good result in the first game, it was a good performance from the boys for the first game.
“Zambia did not participate in the Africa Cup for a long time, too long for us, it will not happen again. The first game was against a very strong team, we did well, we scored a goal they equalized. The first game I am happy, but the second game is always very important for us because we want to go to the next round.’
He said Tanzania were a good side that had a good game against Morocco but suffered after being given a red card.
“To be honest I do not know, I know they want to play on the pitch. I was impressed with them, they are hard to beat, I think except the 3-0 against Morocco they were good,” Grant said.
He said the firing of the Tanzania coach after their opening match would not impact the match in any way.
“Every coach comes with his ideas I do not know about this coach (interim Tanzania coach), but we need to prepare for everything,” he said.
Grant said the gap between the tournament’s traditional powerhouses and minnows had been reduced.
“The days when the big teams destroyed the small teams have finished in Europe and in Africa it is finished. The big teams remain the big teams, but others have closed the gap,” he said.
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