Congo, Zambia resume battle for top spot

Congo and Zambia will resume their battle for top spot in Group E of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this Sunday.

They played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in Ndola on Wednesday, with AC Léopards striker Winston Kalengo giving Chipolopolo the lead on the hour mark and the Red Devils fighting back through Jordan Massengo fifteen minutes later.

Still undefeated in this qualifying campaign, the two sides are level on 5 points at the top of the table with the Congolese edging the Zambians on goal difference.

And the Red Devils will be looking to make full use of the home advantage to strengthen their leadership and move a step closer to a spot in the tournament’s finals.

However, national coach Pierre Lechantre will again be without Dagenham centre-back Clevid Dikamona, who is still waiting for his Fifa clearance, while star striker Thievy Bifouma is suspended for accumulation of yellow cards.

Disappointed with their home draw in the first leg of their double header, Zambia head coach George Lwandamina remains adamant that they will bounce back and ultimately reach their main objective.

“We cannot be happy with a draw because picking a point was not our objective. The boys fought well considering that some of them came in today while others came in yesterday and they played as if they had been in training together for a long time. If they can play like that, then we have a good team,” he said after the Ndola fixture.

“We are not in an easy group but we are doing our best to make the country proud. Sometimes playing at home puts a lot of pressure on the players but if they can maintain level heads when we go to Congo we can put away the created chances.

“We will use today’s result as a motivation for us to do even better in the next match. That is our short term objective but the long term objective is for us to qualify to the final tournament in Gabon.”

The game will kick off at Stade Alphonse Massamba-Debat, in Brazzaville, at 16h30 CAT this Sunday.


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