Zambia started off their CHAN campaign on the right footing following a 3-1 win over Uganda Cranes on Sunday December 14, 2018 in Marrakech.
Zambia, who beat the same opponent 1-0 at the same stage two years ago in Kigali, got the opener in the 38th minute through Lazarous Kambole who slotted in from close range 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.
The Chipolopolo came into the second half stronger with the Cranes defense put into constant duty.
Three minutes past the hour mark, Augustine Mulenga shot Zambia back 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.
Sebastiern Desabre post-match reaction
After the match, Uganda head coach Sebastien Desabre reckoned that they lost the match in the second half, will try to improve the physical aspect of our play in their remaining two matches.
“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 Zambia played fast attacking game and my team controlled,’’ said Desabre.
“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,’’ he added.
Wedson Nyirande post-match reaction
On his part, Zambia head coach Wedson Nyirenda acknowledged that Uganda were the better side in the first half but his team came fitter in the second half.
“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,’’ sadi Nyirenda.
“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, Nyirenda said, “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,’’ added the coach.