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About Zambia


Zambia

FIFA Rank: 39
Coach: Herve Renard
Captain: Christopher Katongo
Nickname: Chipolopolo (The Copper Bullets)
Best AFCON finish: Champions (2012)
AFCON 2012 finish: Champions

AFCON PEDIGREE:

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 October 2011.

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.

SQUAD OVERVIEW:

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 flight.

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.

FULL SQUAD:

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)

Player to 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 this season.

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 result.

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.

Qualifying Results:

Second round, first leg
Zambia 1-0 Uganda
Second round, second leg
Uganda 1-0 Zambia (8-9 on pens)

Ten 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 Rhodesia.

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!

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