ZAMBIA’S reputation as one of the best footballing nations – at least in the region – suffered a knock when George Lwandamina’s boys finished at the tail-end of the Angola four-nation tournament after losing to Namibia on penalties at 11 November Stadium in Luanda.
The Chipolopolo failed to score in 90 minutes – just like in Friday’s 0-3 loss to Democratic Republic of Congo – and were still poor on penalties despite goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata handing them the respite with one save.
Old-timer Buchizya Mfune and upstart Jack Chirwa failed to convert and inadvertently rendered goals by Mwila Phiri, Mwape Mwelwa and Spencer Sautu academic.
Namibia were on target through Heini Isaacks, Dennis Tjetjinda, Emilio Martins, and Muna Katupose while Nsabata was equal to Ananias Gebhardt’s strike.
Lwandamina will hope the loss is not a harbinger of what is to come as his boys travel to Sudan for the 2018 World Cup qualifier. Sudan are a more credible side than Namibia but the consolation is that the Chipolopolo will be at full-strength when the foreign-based legion arrives ahead of the match this Wednesday.
The coach made wholesale changes to the starting line-up that lost to Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday with Toaster Nsabata replacing Jacob Banda in goal while Solomon Sakala got the nod ahead of stuttering Boyd Mkandawire.
The most notable changes were up front where Moses Phiri and teenager Conlyde Luchanga started ahead of the battle-tested Winston Kalengo and Festus Mbewe.
In the second half, Lwandamina introduced Mbewe for Moses while Mwila replaced Luchanga but goals still eluded the Chipolopolo against a country down the ranking ladder.
It was the third time in four meetings that matches between the two teams have to be decided on penalties.
The Brave Warriors won 5-4 on post-match penalties after a goalless draw during the quarter-finals at the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge in South Africa.
The Namibians beat Zambia 2-1 in the 2016 African Nations Championship qualifier in Windhoek while the Chipolopolo also won in Lusaka with a similar margin to tie 3-3 on aggregate. Zambia won 6-5 on penalties.
The team is expected back home today and immediately get ready for the World Cup outing to Sudan.