Zambia confirmed their superiority over Uganda with a 3-1 win in their Group B clash on Sunday in Marrakech.
It was the successive that the Chipolopolo had triumphed over the Cranes at the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues. Zambia beat Uganda 1-0 at the same stage two years ago in Kigali.
Despite a positive start from Uganda, it was Zambia who shot into the lead on 38 minutes through Lazarous Kambole, who slotted past Uganda goalie Benjamin Ochan after Ernest Mbewe had put him through.
The Cranes responded in style two minutes later through Derrick Nsibambi who struck a spectacular half volley that caught Zambia goalie Toaster Nsabata off guard.
At one-all, it was Zambia who resumed the second half stronger asking the Cranes backline several questions.
Three minutes past the hour mark, Augustine Mulenga shot Zambia into the lead by firing home from a Kambole assist.
The Cranes hopes were dashed when a blunder by goalkeeper Ochan gifted the Chipolopolo the third on 71 minutes. A seemingly harmless free-kick by Fackson Kapumbu deflected off the head of Taddeo Lwanga, only for Ochan, who won the domestic double with Kampala City Council Authority last season to grab the ball over the line.
The Chipolopolo held on to claim victory which takes them to the top of Group B ahead of Namibia by virtue of superior goals. Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda follow in that on zero point each.
Total Man of the Match: Lazarous Kambole (Zambia)
Sebastien Desabre (Head Coach, Uganda)
We had a good start and had a chance to open the scores early in the game. The first half was 50-50. It is disappointing we had a lot of chances, but couldn’t convert. It was an open game and zamia played Zambia played fast attacking game and my team controlled. The second half was difficult for my players physically in the opening 25 minutes. Then we conceded and the third goal was as a result of a mistake by our goalkeeper (Benjamin Ochan). We showed quality and good organization.
We have two more games left ad I will try to improve the physical aspect of our play.
I’m still discovering my players after taking charge 10 days ago. It is always difficult to start with a competition of this magnitude. It was a nice goal from Derrick Nsibambi; unfortunately it was not decisive.
Wedson Nyirenda (Head Coach, Zambia)
The first half was for Uganda. They controlled, played well and were better organized. We were nowhere to be seen. My team did not believe in the first 20 minutes and Uganda could have gone up. We showed character and didn’t concede. We played on the counter and that is how we got a goal which gave us some edge.
In the second half, we started on a higher note, were fitter and that gave us victory.
On giving Lazarous Kambole his debut, there is nothing that gives coach a lot of pleasure than when you believe in a player and he responds in that style. The boy is starting to believe in himself, getting more and more confident. I think the young man has a lot to show.
We have just won the first game and won’t go to sleep. We have three points at stake against Namibia. The race is still open. It is marathon. All teams have two games to play, and we won’t relax. The way Uganda played; we should not be surprised to see them qualify despite them losing the first game.
Lazarous Kambole (Total Man of the Match)
First and fore most it was not easy match. We were prepared and winning the first match of the tournament was our plan and we have achieved it. It is great feeling, not for me but for all Zambians
It feels great to score on my senior debut. It wasn’t easy in the first 20 mins as we were not playing as a team but we did our best and controlled the game in second half and we got what we wanted.
This is just starting point, we have a hard task ahead.