Mon 21 Jan '13
| © supersport.com
Coach Herve Renard will not underrate any opponent at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tourney and hopes that past performances will motivate Zambia when the reigning champions kick off the defence of their title against Ethiopia on Monday.
Renard spoke highly of the East African side and brushed aside any suggestions by Coach Sewnet Bishaw that the Ethiopians were at the tournament to make up the numbers.
"Our ambition is to play good football. We happy just to be here," Bishaw said earlier.
But the Frenchman knows too well of the danger posed by the underrated East Africans whose 23 man squad consists of 20 players from the Ethiopian domestic league.
"Ethiopia is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them because they have a lot of skilled players. They drew away to South Africa in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and they qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals tournament after they defeated Sudan,” said Renard.
“We don't live in the past. We learn from it. Ethiopia is a good passing team. We've seen them and their videos. We will be at our best," he added.
And Zambia captain Christopher Katongo who was voted the best player at the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations said his side was keen to retain the title they won a year ago.
"We're motivated by what winning the Africa Cup has done to us. Many lives are changed. We want to win it again this year," said the skipper.
Zambia and Ethiopia have previously played each other eight times in competitive matches and only twice at neutral venues.
Zambia holds a better head to head record having recorded four wins,scoring twelve goals and conceding five in the process.
However, Ethiopia won the most recent encounter between the two sides when a Zambia developmental team lost 2-1 in a Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match played in Dar es Salaam on 7th December 2010. Italian Dario Bonetti was in charge of the Chipolopolo at the time.