ZAMBIA will face-off with FIFA 2014 World Cup finalists, Japan in a high-profile international friendly match set for June 6 in the United States of America.
The Chipolopolo will clash with the Blue Samurai at the Raymond James Stadium in Florida, the home to National Football League side Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Japan coach, Alberto Zaccheroni said Zambia’s historic triumph at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was still fresh in his memory and was hopeful the Chipolopolo would help in giving the Asian champions some good preparations before the World Cup.
The match against Patrice Beaumelle’s Chipolopolo will be Japan’s final warm-up before trekking to Brazil for the World Cup finals slated for June 12-July 13.
Zaccheroni said apart from inviting Zambia for a friendly match, Japan would also play Costa Rica in Florida where the Samurai had chosen as their pre-World Cup campsite.
“I chose Florida as a campsite because we need to acclimatise to the heat and humidity in Brazil while minimising the travel. Costa Rica are a side good enough to qualify for the World Cup, and Zambia’s march to the African Nations Cup title (in 2012) is still fresh in my memory. These two games will be extremely important when we bear in mind what kind of teams we will be up against at the World Cup,” Zaccheroni was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.
Japan, who prior to the American tour will engage Cyprus on May 27, will first play Costa Rica on June 2 before facing Zambia on June 6 at the Raymond James Stadium.
Japan are in Group C in the World Cup finals with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast as the other teams. Costa Rica are in Group D with Italy, Uruguay and England.
Zambia, who lost out on a chance to be at the 2014 World Cup after losing to Ghana, has in the recent past faced world-class opposition in five-time global kings, Brazil, Jordan and Egypt.
The Chipolopolo’s last involvement on the international scene was a friendly match against Uganda in Ndola which Zambia won 2-1.
Times of Zambia