Saudi Arabia edge out Zambia
Hosts Saudi Arabia defeated African Champions Zambia 2-1 in an international friendly match played at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Sports Stadium in Dammam City on Wednesday.
The Greens, as the Saudi Arabia national football team is popularly known, were using the friendly to prepare for the West Asian Football Cup which takes place in Kuwait this month while the Zambia used its developmental side comprised mainly of players from the domestic league in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations taking place in South Africa.
The hosts who are coached by Frank Rijkaard employed a 4-4-2 formation in their starting line up and took the game to the visitors from the onset of the match. Fawaz Alkhyeera started in goal while
Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Al fuse, Ali al-Zubaidi, Majid Asiri formed the line of defense.
The midfield comprised Abdullah Autef, Khudair, Ahmed Awfi and Fahad Hamad. Ahmed Faridi led the line alongside Badr.
Striker Ahmed Faridi opened the scoresheet in the 15th minute while Badr scored the second goal in the 56th minute before the Chipolopolo pulled one back in the 77th minute through Evans Kangwa.
African Champion coach Herve Renard kept faith in Joshua Titima to start in goal in a 4-3-3 formation. Chintu Kampamba marshalled the Chipolopolo backline with Salulani Phiri while Chisamba Lungu and Jimmy Chisenga played as wingbacks.
The central midfield role was occupied by Thomas Nyirenda who was supported by youngsters Rodric Kabwe and Mulenga Mukuka. The frontline was completed Kennedy Mudenda, Moses Phiri and Lewis Macha.
The match against Saudi Arabia was part of a series of international friendly matches which have been organized by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to provide an excellent platform for local players to undergo the rigours of African championship training in order for them to stake their claims for consideration in the Nations Cup provisional squad.
“The camp for locally based players is very important. It is the bedrock and foundation on which preparations for the Zambia National Soccer Team will be launched,” said FAZ spokesperson Eric Mwanza.
“We have lined up a number of games to help the technical staff make continuous assessment of the players’ readiness and overall team preparedness. We have Tanzania on the 23rd of December, Morocco on the 8th of January 2013 and Norway on the 12th of January.”
“The match against Morocco will precede the naming of the final 23-man squad and submission of the same to CAF by Football House. Therefore, the game against Norway at Levy Mwanawasa will involve the final 23 who will compete at SA2013 for the defence of our African crown,” Mwanza said.