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Chipolopolo faces Libya

FILE: Zambia National team striker James Chamanga in a tussle with a Comoros defender during the AFCON game played on Sunday at Lusaka's Nkoloma Stadium - Picture by Collins Phiri
FILE: Zambia National team striker James Chamanga in a tussle with a Comoros defender during the AFCON game played on Sunday at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium – Picture by Collins Phiri
CHIPOLOPOLO this evening faces its sternest test when it takes on Libya in the 2012 Orange Gabon/Equatorial Guinea Africa Cup Group C qualifier at the 11 June Stadium in Tripoli.

Dario Bonetti’s team will be hoping to maintain top spot in Group C after today’s clash where they lead on three points following their 4-0 win over Comoros in Lusaka on September 5.

The stakes are high with the 2012 edition also being used as the qualifier for the 2013 showpiece which will be hosted by Libya.

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Zambia has an edge over the two sides having drawn 2-all away in Tripoli in May 2008 in a friendly game that marked former coach Herve Renard’s debut on the Chipolopolo bench.

Competitively, Chipolopolo hold the edge in the last 10 years winning 2-0 at home and 4-2 in Tripoli in a 2002 FIFA World Cup Group One qualifier.

Libya will be looking to end their winless streak against Zambia whom they last beat in the semifinals of the 1982 Africa Cup tournament via a 2-1 on their way to finishing runners-up as hosts.

Bonetti will be hoping to keep Zambia’s good record intact led by South African side Free State Stars goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene who is sure to start between the posts.

Billy Mwanza and newly appointed national team captain Chintu Kampamba will partner in central defence.

Completing the backline will be TP Mazembe wingback Emmanuel Mbola and Joseph Musonda.
Mbola, who missed out on the Italy trip, will be hoping to put his visa hitches behind him with a fine performance.

In midfield, Noah Chivuta is expected to command proceedings after a good show against Comoros Islands at Nkoloma Stadium and is likely to be joined by Rainford Kalaba and Felix Katongo.

The return of FC Utrecht striker Jacob Mulenga will provide enough fire power upfront where his partnership with Chamanga would be relied on to win the game.
Bonetti will also look to Young Boys FC striker Emmanuel Mayuka and Fwayo Tembo as attacking options should the strike force prove ineffective.

Meanwhile, Zambia should be wary of the threat posed by Ahmed Zuway and Hussein al Idrissy as the pair tormented Mozambique in the opening fixture in Maputo as Libya seek their first Group C win.

Zambia occupies top spot on three points with Libya lying second after a goalless draw away in Mozambique while Comoros are bottom on zero points after their 4-0 loss to Chipolopolo.

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