COACH Herve Renard has set qualification to the Orange 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) this weekend, among his top priorities for the Chipolopolo.
The Chipolopolo developmental squad faces a final litmus test against Zimbabwe in the crucial ‘Battle for Zambezi’ CHAN qualifier at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola with the winner expected to book a place at the January South Africa 2014 finals.
Renard said he had set three goals, reclaiming the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup last month and qualifying to the CHAN and Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
He said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that having achieved his first goal of winning the COSAFA Cup, focus now was on securing a berth at the 2014 CHAN finals.
After drawing the CHAN second round, first leg 0-0 in Harare on Sunday, Renard said his charges had no option but fight for qualification against Zimbabwe this weekend.
The Chipolopolo conquered the Warriors of Zimbabwe 2-0 in the COSAFA Cup final played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
“We had three goals – winning the COSAFA, qualifying to the CHAN and also qualifying to the World Cup. We’ve achieved our first goal of winning the COSAFA, now we’ve to get our second target of CHAN qualification,” he said.
To achieve the second target, Renard appealed to the fans to take advantage of the reduced gate charges and turn up in numbers to cheer the team to victory.
He said the fans did well during the COSAFA Cup but was disappointed with the low attendance in the recent CHAN qualifier against Botswana.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has slashed gate charges for the tickets which go on sale today for the Zimbabwe match, with three of the four wings costing only K50 and K20, respectively.
FAZ spokesperson, Erick Mwanza said the seats on the eastern lower and upper decks would fetch K50 and K20 respectively, while the northern and southern seats all round would cost K20.
Mwanza said the Zimbabwe fixture was crucial as it would decide Zambia’s future in the CHAN, hence the need for the fans to pack the stadium to the rafters.
However, tickets for the VIP remain unchanged at K500, while fans wishing for the western lower and upper decks will still pay K150 and K100, respectively.
Tickets will be sold at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and the Zampost outlets in Lusaka, Kabwe and the Copperbelt.
The Chipolopolo has since shifted base to Ndola and yesterday they had a training match against Division One North side, Kalewa which was closed to the media. The team had a rest in the morning.
Zambia last qualified to the CHAN finals in the inaugural 2009 edition.
So far hosts South Africa and 12 other countries have qualified to the 2014 CHAN finals, leaving only three slots to complete the line-up.