CHIPOLOPOLO this afternoon take on Swaziland in the first leg of the Kenya 2018 CHAN qualifier at Somohlolo Stadium in Mbabane.
This is the second time the two teams are meeting in the qualifiers, the first being in the inaugural tournament in 2009.
That year, Zambia lost to Swaziland 1-0 at the same venue in the first leg but overturned the result to win 3-0 in Lusaka to qualify to the finals in Ivory Coast where they won bronze.
The last time Zambia qualified for CHAN last year in Rwanda where Chipolopolo reached the quarter finals.
Since losing the COSAFA Cup final to Zimbabwe with a makeshift team last Sunday, coach Wedson Nyirenda has changed the team to include Zanaco and Zesco United players that missed the COSAFA due to CAF Interclub commitments.
“Every international match is about competition and we are here to compete. There has been a lot of improvement in Swazi football but our target is to qualify to Kenya,” Chipolopolo assistant coach Aggrey Chiyangi said ahead of the match.
“CHAN is the continent’s second biggest AfCON. We are approaching CHAN differently from COSAFA and we are aware that Swaziland will have a completely different team from the one we saw in Rustenburg. They will be strong but we are targeting to go through,” added Chiyangi.
To be able to get a comfortable result ahead of the return match next week, Toaster Nsabata should replace Allan Chibwe in goal.
Taonga Bwembya, Simon Silwimba, Donashano Malama or Fackson Kampumbu may man the wing backs.
Ziyo Tembo may partner either Isaac Shamujompa or Adrian Chama in central defence.
Kondwani Mtonga should provide cover to the backline in that defensive midfield role while Clatous Chama should be roaming the creative areas.
Upfront, Nyirenda has Brian Mwila, Justin Shonga, Lubinda Mundia, Dave Daka and Martin Phiri are all available for selection depending on his game plan.