Chipolopolo legends reunite Thursday and return to the pitch in an air of nostalgia for their glory 11 years ago when they face off with Barcelona legends in an exposition match at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
The match is set to raise Zambia’s football footprint as a catalyst to lift the country’s tourism profile, thanks to the impact of the Barcelona legends and the icons of the 2012 AFCON winning team.
Read more: Barcelona legends arrive to thunderous welcome, as they face Zambia Thursday
Zambia will be at full potency led by captain, Christopher Katongo, who lifted the trophy in Libreville over a decade ago after beating a highly-rated Ivory Coast side led by Diddier Drogba.
Football icon, Kalusha Bwalya returns to the bench to relive his stint as Chipolopolo coach from 2004 to 2006 when he fused most of the future AFCON winners in his team from the Under-23 and Under-20 teams.
Bwalya declared his lads ready for the game, adding that the team would do everything to give Zambians a memorable game.
“These are important moments for us as Zambia to cherish and the team is ready for the game against the Barcelona legends. Today’s game is an opportunity for us to market Zambia and we shall do everything possible to make sure that we give Zambians a memorable game and showcase our prowess. It’s a big game that will sell our tourism worldwide,” said Bwalya.
“Football should be the winner at the end of the day and Zambians should be winners in this coming together. We are playing the immortals of Barcelona who like the tiki-taka kind of football and we expect nothing but the best from our end. Everybody is looking forward to seeing the stars like Ronaldinho.
“I think that Barcelona is an important institution in the world, five times European champions, and just them coming to Zambia will raise a lot of eyebrows in our country and I think it’s very important because they will go out with a message that Zambia is indeed a tourist destination. With the dispensation that is there already that Zambia is back in the champions league, there is no other better way to start than using sport itself,” he said.
Barcelona Legends coach, Albert Ferrer, said the team was excited to be in Zambia and were ready for the game.
“It feels good to be in Zambia and we feel at home. Thank you, Zambia for the good hospitality. We are here to enjoy and have a great game against the Zambia legends. The weather is pretty good and of course, we are here to create historic moments. The team is ready and looking forward to the crowds in the stadium,” said Ferrer.
On the pitch, Kalusha is expected to start Kennedy Mweene between the sticks while the back four would be marshaled by Francis Kasonde, Joseph Musonda Hichani Himonde, and David Nkausu.
In midfield, Isaac Chansa, Rainford Kalaba, and Nathan Sinkala will play the holding midfield roles while Emmanuel Mayuka, Christopher Katongo, and Clifford Mulenga are expected to lead the attack.
The Barcelona Legends’ probable starting 11 would see Jesus Angov between the sticks, and Francesco Coco, Edimillson Moreas, Frerdic Dehu, and Daniel Nunez are expected to provide cover to the goalkeeper.
Juan Carlos, Gabriel Torre, and Giovani Oliveira are expected to take charge of the midfield while Ronaldinho, Patrick Kluivert, and Javier Saviola are expected to lead the attack.
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