Chipolopolo, Cranes clash today

Zambian FA and Zambian clubs sanctioned for breaching transfer regulations
Zambian FA and Zambian clubs sanctioned for breaching transfer regulations

PATRICE Beaumelle’s coaching expertise today goes on test on home soil for the first time when the Chipolopolo face Uganda in an international friendly at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The 35-year-old, the youngest to coach Zambia, is trying to etch his name in the history books, having deputised his compatriot Herve Renard for four years.
This is a chance for Beaumelle to prove his acumen against the Cranes following Zambia’s losses to five-time world champions Brazil, seven-time African kings Egypt and Jordan in high profile friendlies.
But this has not detracted Beaumelle, seen as the brains behind the success of Renard who is now coaching French side Sochaux.
“You can say it is the first time but for me it is continuity. I have been with the Chipolopolo team for six years,” he told journalists during one of the training sessions last week.
From nine games played, Beaumelle has guided the Chipolopolo to four victories, four losses and a draw, which is a flat record he needs to enhance.
Uganda are no strangers to Beaumelle as he was an understudy then during the two nations’ last encounter in which Zambia needed lotteries to oust the East Africans in the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying race.
Zambia won the home tie by a lone goal at the same venue in June 2012 but lost by the similar margin in the return encounter before penalties decided the tense clash in Kampala.
Uganda and Zambia have met four times since 2000 and each country has won once and drawing the other matches in regulation time apart from the October 2012 match which Zambia won 9-8 on penalties.
But Beaumelle faces the Cranes, who have a different coach since the last meeting of the countries.
“We know what the expectations are at Levy Stadium. The expectations are high for the fans from Zambia who are playing their first game this year,” said Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, who took over from Scot Bobby Williamson.
Admittedly, Beaumelle has hinted Uganda have offered a tough opposition.
Sredojevic will boast of having an experienced pair of hands in Bidvest Wits’ goalkeeper Dennis Onyango in between the sticks to thwart any danger.
Skipper Andrew Mwesigwa of Ordabasy in Kazakhstan is expected to form the core of the rearguard for the Cranes.
United States’ Richmond Kicker defender Henry Kalungi and Isaac Isinde of Saint George in Ethiopia are also expected to make up the defence with Sredojevic looking to locals Nicholas Wadada or Dennis Iguma to complete his formidable defence line.
Breached by Christopher Katongo’s goal in 2012, Uganda will leave no room for error this time but will try to police the Zambian attacker.
With Jacob Mulenga and James Chamanga not available, Beaumelle may unleash a youthful but witty attacking option in Julius Situmbeko and Moses Phiri to partner Katongo and Emmanuel Mayuka.
Missing Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) players due to continental club commitments on Saturday, Tony Mawejje and Geoffrey Kizito, who play in Norway and Kenya, respectively, should fit in the boots of the mercurial Ivan Ntege in trying to unlock the Chipolopolo schemers.
After being snubbed for the match against Brazil on October 15 in Beijing, China, Rainford Kalaba is back in the squad and will orchestrate play with Nathan Sinkala, Chisamba Lungu and Felix Katongo in midfield.
Hamis Kizza and Emmanuel Okwi, whose Tanzania side Young African stunned African club champions Al Ahly at the weekend, will want to come with the same form to the Cranes’ squad while Geoffrey Massa and Moses Oloya are other attackers Stopilla Sunzu will have to watch on.
Micho also has Sula Matovu as his other attacking option but Zambia shot-stopper Kennedy Mweene is surely of having a tight shield from Sunzu and Hichani Himoonde or Bronson Chama in central defence.
On the wing backs, Beaumelle may try out Fackson Kapumpu and Jimmy Chisenga the duo he is preparing for the future before bringing on Emmanuel Mbola and the experienced Joseph Musonda.
Kabaso Chongo can play either on the wings or in central defence.

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