Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Afcon

Zambia © Backpagepix

Champions Zambia in danger zone



Zambia face a stiff task if they are to avoid the ignominy of becoming the first defending Africa Cup of Nations champions to fail to make it to the quarterfinals since 1992.

Algeria were the last title-holders to go out in the first round, following up their 1990 title win by picking up just one point from two matches two years later in Senegal.

Zambia's backs are against the wall following a brace of 1-1 draws with Ethiopia and, on Friday, against Nigeria, when 'keeper Kennedy Mweene saved the day by converting their penalty.

They now face the revelations of the competition, Burkina Faso, in Nelspruit on Tuesday.

Burkina are the shock Group C leaders after shrugging off the disadvantage of being reduced to 10 men to demolish Ethiopia 4-0, with Alain Traore's deadly left foot doing most of the damage.

That lifted Burkina to four points, with Zambia and Nigeria on two apiece and Ethiopia footing the mini-league on one.

A win against Burkina will see Herve Renard's men into the last eight –if they register their third successive draw then it will come down to what happens in the tie between Nigeria and Ethiopia being played simultaneously in Rustenburg.

Zambia have history in their favour – they swept Burkina Faso aside 5-1 at the 1996 Nations Cup played in South Africa.

Mweene is hopeful rather than confident the 2012 heroes will not be going home early.

"Look, we still have hope. We'll work hard in training, we can't give up. We have to fight, we are the champions after all.

"It won't be easy, but we can still qualify for the quarterfinals," said the talismanic keeper who, aside from scoring Friday's spot-kick, saved a penalty in their opening stalemate against Ethiopia.

Captain Christopher Katongo admitted to the BBC that they face a must-win situation on Tuesday to go through to the knockout stages.

"Everybody knows the importance of the last game – we just wait for the other result, but definitely Nigeria and Zambia have to win their last game."

Given the circumstances, Renard was relieved not to come away empty handed on Friday night.

The Frenchman said: "Yes, considering the game, of course I'm happy with a draw, we had Nigeria in front of us. We are still in a good way to get qualification."

Emmanuel Emenike's goal put Nigeria in the driving seat before Mweene made the long walk up from his goal to convert a spot kick that many felt was harshly awarded when Ogenyi Onazi tangled with Emmanuel Mayuka in the box.

Renard reflected: "I thought we played a very good match, and deserved the draw.

"We found the resources to come back, and had two decent chances before getting our penalty. We can be very happy with the result."

He will be even happier if he can hatch a plan to overcome buoyant Burkina here on Tuesday.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Jose's attack-minded machine
Anyone who has followed Jose Mourinho’s recent sides will be taken by surprise by what he has...

Neil Tovey
Bafana train on track but…
Qualifying for their first major tournament since 2008 is a tremendous feat for Bafana Bafana.

John Dykes
Hero worship from Bollywood to Bayern
A truly hectic travel schedule provided a timely reminder of the way football lights up people’s...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Refereeing cowardice or good player management?
Was this good refereeing or refereeing cowardice? The incident highlighted in the picture again...

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Is this the turning point for Man United?
Before the season started, if anyone told Manchester United’s new boss Louis Van Gaal that at...

Carol Radull
No mystery why Arsenal can't beat United
I am a little delusional. When it comes to Arsenal, I always am. To say that I am a frustrated...