Monday Jul 12, 2021. 16:00
Chipolopolo Zambia will arrive at the point of no return this Tuesday when they face Botswana in their penultimate Group A match at the 2021 COSAFA Cup.
The defending COSAFA Cup champions’ hopes of retaining their crown are very bleak after losing their opening two Group A games starting with a 2-1defeat on July 8 to Lesotho and 1-0 to Eswatini on July10.
Those defeats left Zambia bottom of Group A on zero points with two fixtures left to play.
Opponents Botswana are just above Zambia at number four on 3 points from two games, level on points with third placed Lesotho while Eswatini and leaders South Africa are tied on 6 points.
A very testing 48 hours awaits under-fire Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic following two unconvincing performances as hosts Bafana Bafana also loom over the horizon on Wednesday.
Defeat or a draw against Botswana will end Zambia’s reign and likely to see the mounting pressure on Micho edge towards a climax after seventeen months in charge.
“We are still only theoretically in the tournament and we have two matches ahead of us and we need to win both matches convincingly in order to have any chance of qualifying,” Micho said.
“Zambia is a country of proud people that will give everything in their remaining two matches against Botswana and South Africa.
“I know that we shall make a better performance, I know that we shall make some changes in order to improve and this is what we are working on.”
But nothing seems to have worked for Micho even after shuffling the pack when he started the subs that came on against Lesotho during the Eswatini match, particularly striker Brian Mwila who missed a glaring 40th minute sitter in the last loss.
Mwila later made way for an equally blunt Justin Shonga just after the hour-mark against Eswatini after also replacing the latter in the 66th minute of the Lesotho game.
Meanwhile, with TP Mazembe defender Kabaso Chongo suspended for the Botswana game after picking up two yellow cards against Leostho and Botswana, Micho is likely to field Buildcon defender Isaac Shamujomba for the first time at the tournament.
However, Micho is still keeping quiet over the reserve options he can now field for the last two games with promising Napsa Stars striker Jimmy Mukeya and Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Collins Sikombe both on standby as D-Day looms for him at the COSAFA Cup.