The Zambia U23 national team played out to a 0 – 0 draw against Southern African rivals South Africa in their opening group B match at the CAF U23 Africa Cup of Nations.
It was a game of two halves with Zambia edging the first half while South Africa dominated the second half.
Coach Beston Chambeshi named Edward Chilufya and Biston Banda in attack in the absence of Fashion Sakala and Patson Daka with the two being aided by Lameck Banda on the left side of attack.
It looked all good in the first half and Zambia had the best chances and controlled proceedings. Biston saw his effort cleared off the line while Lameck failed to take advantage from the rebound in the 26th minute.
Ngosa Sunzu and Emmanuel Banda also had chances with shots taken from range.
After the break, the young Chipolopolo lost their way and allowed South Africa to dominate play in the midfield opting for long balls to the wings which were easily cut out.
Mangani Banda in goal twice had to save the situation but credit will go to the defense which held on well to keep out the attacks that were coming in waves.
The technical bench will be sweating on the fitness of Emmanuel Banda who limped off the pitch holding his hamstring in the 71st minute especially that he seemed to be the architect of Zambia’s attacks and battled well to win balls in midfield.
The arrival of the attacking trio of Daka, Sakala and Enock Mwepu ahead of the second game on Tuesday will be eagerly anticipated after the draw while South Africa will also be expecting key players who stayed back to play in the Soweto derby.
Ivory Coast who earlier beat Nigeria 1 – 0 lead group B on three points and will play South Africa in the next game while Zambia will play bottom placed Nigeria.
Zambia XI v South Africa
1. Mangani Banda, 13. Shemmy Mayembe, 3. Prosper Chiluya, 2. Moses Nyondo, 5. Solomon Sakala, 19. Ngosa Sunzu, 12. Emmanuel Banda (Field Nkandela 71′), 15. Biston Banda, 17. Kings Kangwa, 7. Lameck Banda (Harrison Chisala 69′), 14. Edward Chilufya (Oliver Lumbiya)