CHIPOLOPOLO midfielder Lubambo Musonda says the team is ready to face any opponent in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage qualifiers.
Lubambo, who plays for Armenia side Gandazsar Kapan, scored the opening goal as Zambia beat Sudan 2-0 on Sunday at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, to advance 3-0 on aggregate to the final round of the qualifiers.
He said the Chipolopolo will work hard and make history by qualifying to the World Cup. Lubambo was glad to have contributed a
goal to help Zambia beat Sudan and more importantly for keeping a clean sheet.
“The game was good, we played some good football and I am happy we won.
Scoring is always a nice thing and I am happy to be on scoring sheet and looking forward to scoring more goals,” he said.
Lubambo said the team has a lot of work to do as they head into the group stages and should not relax because the competition will be tough but that Zambia will be ready to face any opponent.
“We still have a lot to do and we will not relax, we will continue working hard as a team and be ready to face any team,” said Lubambo, who will be part of the Zambian team at the Senegal 2015 African Under-23 Championship.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has expressed happiness with the Chipolopolo’s good start in the qualifiers and has urged the players to aim at making a maiden appearance at the World Cup finals.
The 1988 African Footballer-of-the-Year said it was the first time in more than 10 years that the World Cup campaign has started on a bright note with a clean sheet and urged the players to remain focused on achieving their objective.
“The journey to the World Cup starts now and there is no better way to start a campaign than like this (having a clean sheet over Sudan). I would just want to thank the boys for their dedication. We have been on target qualifying to the African Under-23 Championship and CHAN tournament and now we are in the World Cup draws, it’s an important stage,” he said.
Kalusha expressed happiness that the Chipolopolo is taking shape and singled out Winston Kalengo and Collins Mbesuma as being outstanding.
“The team is taking shape and we are always good for a goal or two when we have Winston and Collins. The journey to the World Cup starts now and it does not matter which team we face, we shall be equal to the challenge and I insist with the same players that we have, we will make it,” he said.(See Photo Focus on P-15)
Meanwhile, Sudan coach Hamdan Hamad has backed the Chipolopolo to qualify for the finals after seeing his side eliminated from contention via an aggregate score of 3-0.
Hamad said in a post-match conference that the Chipolopolo are serious contenders for the World Cup berth if they maintain the current form in the group stages.
“In the two games that we played, Zambia excelled, they have good and experienced players and looking at the way they are playing, Zambia will go far in the qualifiers and probably qualify for the World Cup,” Hamad said.