FIFA Rank: 39
Coach: Herve Renard
Captain: Christopher Katongo
Nickname: Chipolopolo (The Copper Bullets)
Best AFCON finish: Champions (2012)
AFCON 2012 finish: Champions
Zambia go into AFCON 2013 as defending champions having claimed
their maiden AFCON title under the guidance of coach Herve Renard in
the previous edition held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Renard had previously taken the Copper Bullets to the quarter-finals
of the 2010 showpiece in his first spell at the helm, but left his post
two months later to take over the reins at Angola before returning in
The Frenchman led Zambia to the top of Group A on the back of wins
over Senegal and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, while the Southern African
drew 2-2 with Libya.
Zambia eased past Sudan in the last-eight before clinching a narrow
1-0 victory over African powerhouses Ghana in the semi-finals to set up
a final date with pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast. Chipolopolo
defied the odds to prevail 8-7 on penalties after the match had ended
goalless after extra-time.
It was third time lucky for Zambia were losing finalists in 1974 and
1994, missing out to Zaire and Nigeria respectively.
Zambia have an experienced squad led by the inspirational
Christopher Katongo. The newly crowned BBC African Footballer of the
Year will be fairly familiar with the conditions in South Africa having
played for Jomo Cosmos for three seasons between 2004 and 2007. The
striker currently plies his trade in the Chinese Super League with
Henan Jianye FC.
Other squad members who have previously played in the Premier Soccer
League include Felix Katongo, Isaac Chansa and James Chamanga, while
Kennedy Mweene, Joseph Musonda, Kampamba Chintu, Davies Nkausu, Noah
Chivuta, Clifford Mulenga and Collins Mbesuma still feature in SA's top
The experienced Mweene will be a key player for Chipolopolo once
again as the last line of defence after the Free State Stars goalkeeper
did a spending job of marshalling the defence in the previous
instalment as Renard’s men concede just three goals.
At the other end of the pitch, the defending champions will be
looking to young Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka to deliver the
goods. The 22-year-old has already scored 10 times in 39 appearances
for his country.
Goalkeepers: Daniel Munyau (Red Arrows), Kennedy Mweene (Free State
Stars/RSA), Joshua Titima (Power Dynamos)
Defenders: Hichani Himoonde, Francis Kasonde and Stoppila Sunzu (TP
Mazembe/COD), Emmanuel Mbola (Porto/POR), Joseph Musonda (Golden
Arrows/RSA), Davies Nkausu (SuperSport Utd/RSA)
Midfielders: Isaac Chansa and Christopher Katongo (Henan
Jianje/CHN), Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala (Mazembe/COD), Noah
Chivuta (Free State Stars/RSA), Felix Katongo (Petro Atletico/ANG),
Chisamba Lungu (Ural Oblast/RUS), Mukuka Mulenga (Power Dynamos),
William Njobvu (Hapoel Beer Sheba/ISR)
Strikers: James Chamanga (Liaojing Whowin/CHN), Emmanuel Mayuka
(Southampton/ENG), Collins Mbesuma (Orlando Pirates/RSA), Jacob Mulenga
(Utrecht/NED), Jonas Sakuwaha (Al Merreikh/SUD)
Watch: Christopher Katongo
Rainford Kalaba impressed in the previous tournament, scoring the
winner in the Group A opener against Senegal, although he was guilty of
missing a penalty in the 8-7 shoot-out victory over Ivory Coast in the
final. Stophira Sunzu also etched his name in Zambian football history
when he netted the deciding spot-kick in last year's final.
However, the player to watch is Christopher Katongo. The 30-year-old
led Chipolopolo to AFCON glory a year ago and Zambian will again be
hitching their 2013 AFCON wagons to their inspirational captain. The
Henan Jianye striker scored three goals in the 2012 edition to help the
Copper Bullets claim their maiden continental title. He underlined his
value to the national team by making another telling contribution in
the qualifying campaign for this year's showpiece, netting in the
second round against Uganda.
Rising Star: Emmanuel Mayuka
Emmanuel Mayuka's career has really taken off in the last two years,
culminating in a high-profile move to the English Premier League with
Southampton in the off-season. The 22-year-old striker netted three
times for Chipolopolo on their way to the previous AFCON final, where
he scored in the penalty shoot-out success against the Elephants.
Mayuka has already earned 39 caps for the national team, scoring 10
goals, while he has made seven top-flight appearances for the Saints
Sorely Missed: Clifford Mulenga
Clifford Mulenga will be disappointed to miss out on AFCON 2013,
having not featured for the Copper Bullets since he was sent home from
the previous tournament after failing to apologise for breaking a
curfew. The 25-year-old winger earned a move to SuperSport United from
Bloemfontein Celtic during the off-season, but hasn't featured much for
the Tshwane club and is hoping to make more of an impact in the second
half of the campaign, and possibly force his way back into the
reckoning for Zambia. Mulenga has played 23 times for his country,
scoring two goals, but until he mends fences with coach Herve Renard he
is unlikely to add to that tally. His talent is undoubted. He just
needs an attitude adjustment.
ROAD TO FINALS
The reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions will have the chance to
defend their crown at the 2013 edition of the continental showpiece
after edging out Uganda in an epic penalty shoot-out.
Due to their participation in the previous finals, Zambia were
handed a bye into the second round where they came up against a
stubborn Cranes unit.
Chipolopolo recorded a narrow 1-0 first-leg win at home in Ndola,
with Christopher Katongo (18) providing the all-important goal, only
for the east Africans to produce the same result in the return fixture,
Geofrey Massa's 25th-minute winner in Kampala forcing a 1-1 aggregate
Herve Renard's side endured a nail-biting penalty shoot-out before
emerging 9-8 victors, with Stophira Sunzu netting the deciding
spot-kick to clinch their place in the South Africa extravaganza.
Second round, first leg
Zambia 1-0 Uganda
Second round, second leg
Uganda 1-0 Zambia (8-9 on pens)
things you never knew about Zambia
1. The Zambian national football side is nicknamed Chipolopolo,
which translates to Copper Bullets. This is because copper is one of
the nation's main exports.
2. In 1994 a plane carrying the Zambian Football team crashed into
the ocean off the cost of Gabon killing everyone on board. Reports
suggest the pilot of the plane was tired and when one of the engines
caught fire and failed he erroneously shut down the working engine
instead of the burning one!
3. Prior to independence in 1964, Zambia was known as Northern
4. Samuel Matete became the first Zambian Athlete to win an Olympic
silver medal when he placed second in the Men’s 400 metres hurdles
event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
5. Matete aside, Zambia has produced many famous sports people who
went on to represent nations other than that of their birth. The list
includes rugby players George Gregan (Australia) and Corne Krige (South
Africa) and football star Robert Earnshaw (Wales).
6. Other famous Zambian born stars include songstress Samantha
Mumba, actress Thandi Newton and author Wilbur Smith.
7. The list of Zambian footballers who have featured in the South
Premier Soccer League (PSL) is a long one. Some of the names to have
appeared on PSL team-sheets include Denis Lota, Chris and Felix
Katongo, Isaac Chansa, Collins Mbesuma and James Chamanga.
8. A Zambian record producer was responsible for the success of
amongst others Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and The Corrs. Robert John
"Mutt" Lange was that man. We also have Lange to thank for the career
of country singer Shania Twain whose records he produced before he went
down on a knee and decided to become Mr. Twain.
9. Point nine now, so perhaps we are clutching at straws here, but
Lange (above) has a somewhat tenuous connection to football... In 1978
he wrote and produced Ipswich Town's FA Cup final single "Ipswich
Ipswich Get That Goal" (his connection with the club? After leaving
Zambia he settled in South Africa and The Tractor Boys had South
African born player Colin Viljoen in their line-up)... Ipswich beat
Arsenal 1-0, thanks in no way whatsoever to Lange.
10. While the official language of Zambia is English, there are
reportedly 42 different languages spoken in the country and even more
dialects. A Zambian languages website lists 78 languages!