The Zambia national soccer team has revived its hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-1 win over Guinea Bissau in an entertaining match played at the Heroes Stadium on Wednesday.
Coach Sven Vandenbroek was looking for his first competitive win in charge of the Chipolopolo and Stoppilla Sunzu and Justin Shonga duly responded with a goal in each half although a late howler from veteran goal minder Kennedy Mweene ensured a tense finish to what was otherwise a comfortable outing for the home side.
The Belgian tactician made four changes to the side that started the 1-1 draw with Namibia, midfield hard man Salulani Phiri making way for Enock Mwepu, Cletus Chama coming in for Rainford Kalaba, Lubambo Musonda taking the place of Fashion Sakala and Justin Shonga replacing Parson Daka in attack.
The the new-look Zambian side took the lead on 17 minutes when a corner manoeuvre led to Sunzu netting via his shoulder.
The Chipolopolo stretched their lead when a brilliant Clatous Chama pass sent Shonga clear to round goalkeeper Jonas Mendes and fire into an empty net.
The completely dominant home side wasted numerous chances to increase their advantage, notably when Musonda blazed over from point-blank range.
The 2012 champions should have been more than two goals ahead before a capacity 60 000 crowd at the National Heroes Stadium when Mweene blundered nine minutes from time.
The South Africa-based veteran who was hardly tested for much of the contest hesitated over a back-pass instead of clearing it and the ball rebounded off Frederic Mendy into the net.
It was the first win for Zambia in three Group K matches and pushes the Chipolopolo to four points. Guinea Bissau host the return match on Sunday.
Mozambique, who host Namibia on Friday, Zambia and Guinea-Bissau have four points each and the top two sides in the final standings go to the 2019 finals in Cameroon.